Arsenal courtesy of their emphatic 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in the FA Cup on Sunday have booked their placed in the quarterfinals.
The Gunners are still alive in the Champions League (face Monaco in the Round of 16 at the time of writing) which means they effectively have two major titles to concentrate on.
The main priority however should lie in qualifying for the Champions League. With Arsenal being only a point behind 4th placed Southampton, the Gunners should make the cut, although the likes of Liverpool and Tottenham are breathing down their neck and would provide a tough competition.
Taking into account the competitive nature of the Premier League, Arsenal slightly hold an edge over other other top four rivals.
Been there and done that
Arsene Wenger probably is not unfazed about the prospect of missing out of top four, as in the past 10 years, Arsenal have been heavily involved more in the dog-fight for the Champions League qualifications than the title race.
It’s almost every year we hear the same hubbub “Arsenal-will-finish-outside-top four-this time” but unsurprisingly they’ve never failed in that quest.
It has reached a stage where Arsenal are confident enough to thwart away any challenges that come in their way while securing the Champions League spot.
Having been in this situation before for umpteenth time in the past decade or so, and having successfully triumphed every time, the probability of them making it to the top four therefore is very high once again.
The new found momentum
Arsenal’s new found momentum should give them an edge over their rivals. The Gunners have won seven matches out of last eight in all competitions, with their only defeat came against Tottenham early in February.
They have won four of their last five Premier League games, and one could clearly see the level of confidence back among the players now.
Liverpool are the only team that have also picked up their momentum at the same time, but with the Reds being handed a tough fixture list, high chances they might slip away.
Home advantage against big teams
Arsenal have an exceptional home record this season, having lost just once in the league (only Chelsea haven’t lost at home). They have scored 28 goals at home (at par with Manchester United), more than any other teams in the league.
What is crucial here is Arsenal will face most of the heavy weight opponents at home that gives them an extra advantage. Liverpool and Chelsea are due to travel to the Emirates, while the penultimate fixture at Old Trafford against Manchester United could prove to be a make-or-break tie for them, should the race go down to the wire.
Return to form of several key players
With the season gradually approaching its climax, Wenger has revealed his frustration with the big money signing Alexis Sanchez recently, saying the Chilean might be showing signs of fatigue. The Frenchman, however, should be happy the way other players have stepped up recently and took the responsibility on their shoulders.
7 – Mesut Ozil created seven goalscoring chances vs Middlesbrough, more than any other player in the FA Cup this weekend. Probe.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 15, 2015
The likes of Giroud, Cazorla, Ozil, Rosicky and Coquelin have been brilliant recently, with Ozil’s dazzling form should please the Arsenal fans.
Players returning from Injury
Arsenal received a major boost last week as Jack Wilshere returned to full training ahead of the FA Cup tie. And it won’t be too long before Wenger will have a fully fit squad with him with the likes of Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey returning from injuries.
These players are potential world class and game changers on their day. Arsenal will shift to another level once Wenger have all his key players at disposal.