Arsenal

When and where Arsenal can take control from Man United in top-four race and pull Chelsea closer

Arsenal have entered March sitting in good position to end their Champions League absence, but this month could prove pivotal as the Premier League top-four race heats up

March could be a defining month for Arsenal in the top-four race.

Results have been in favour for the Gunners since Premier League action resumed at the beginning of February following a two-week break that allowed Mikel Arteta’s side to recharge their batteries ahead of the final stretch of the season.

During this period, Manchester United have dropped points at home to Southampton and Watford whilst also being held away at Burnley, Tottenham Hotspur have lost three from six and West Ham United have let leads slip against Leicester City and Newcastle United.

However, the one thing Arsenal have not had is control of in recent weeks is the top-four race as they’ve been outside the Champions League places since mid-January.

Although, that could be about to change as March is going to be a crucial month for the five teams vying for fourth and there’s also a chance for the Gunners to send a warning to Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel over third place.

Despite those games in hand, if, for some reason, the season was to finish today then it’s Man United who would join the Blues, Liverpool and Manchester City as the Premier League’s four representatives in the Champions League next season.

So the task for Arsenal is to take control of the top-four race from the Red Devils.

That could happen as early as this weekend with the Gunners facing relegation-threatened Watford a couple of hours before United are in a Manchester derby action at the Etihad Stadium.

Victory at Vicarage Road coupled with a Manchester City win over Man United and West Ham failing to beat Liverpool 24 hours earlier means Arsenal will end the weekend in fourth and more importantly ahead of the chasing pack.

In the space of six days, the Gunners welcome Leicester and Liverpool to the Emirates Stadium before entertaining Aston Villa away from home. Last season these corresponding fixtures yielded a grand total of zero points for Arteta’s side so it’s clear improvements are needed.

At the same time, United have games against Spurs and Liverpool – although the latter fixture will be rearranged if the Reds progress to the FA Cup – which does provide an opportunity for more dropped points.

Of course, West Ham, Spurs and Wolves are very much in contention for fourth so the ideal scenario for the Gunners is to create a gap between themselves and the chasing pack.

Something that is possible if results go Arsenal’s way in March as that could also see them drag Chelsea into the top-four race as they currently trail their London rivals by five points having played one game fewer and with a new date for their trip to Stamford Bridge still to be confirmed.
On paper, the Blues have a favourable set of Premier League fixtures in March against Burnley, Newcastle and Norwich City.

Furthermore, following an announcement that their game at Carrow Road will be brought forward March 10 should either side reach the FA Cup quarter-final, it would take a remarkable set of results for Arsenal to leapfrog Tuchel’s side this month.

Although with Burnley already taking points off Man United and Spurs coupled with the Magpies growing in confidence, the Gunners need to be ready to capitalise if any surprise results occur.

Looking at all the March Premier League fixtures for all the clubs mentioned, there’s a clear pathway for Arsenal to take control of the top-four race and the added incentive of moving closer to third-placed Chelsea heading into the penultimate month of the season.