Arsenal legend believes top four is ‘really realistic’ this season

Arsenal legend Martin Keown has suggested that the top four is “up for grabs” and earning a spot in the Champions League is a “really realistic” ambition for the Londoners.

The Gunners made a poor start to the 2021/22 campaign as they lost their first three Premier League games.

Mikel Arteta’s side have recovered since then though as they are unbeaten in their last seven league games. They have picked up five wins and two draws.

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Arsenal have beaten Tottenham Hotspur and Leicester City in this run. This form has seen them rise up to sixth in the Premier League.

The Londoners host Watford this weekend in their last game before the international break.

Keown has told the Mirror that Arsenal have been able to wipe away the feeling that they have a “soft underbelly”:

“I think the win against Leicester was a statement victory. When you go there and you do that to Leicester, you’ve climbed another major hurdle in your development. That’s all it is at the minute, just a team developing but going in the right direction.

“They’ve done really well to turn it around after losing the first three games of the season. It was about the manager identifying after that first international break, these are the personnel that I can rely on. They’ve made a number of changes since that City game, but it’s now paying dividends.

“The form team of the season is West Ham going into fourth place. With Manchester United and Tottenham having a difficult run, that top-four place comes into view.

“I think it’s about Arsenal rebuilding the reputation as it is about anything else. There was a feeling they had a soft underbelly, but they have been able to wipe that away. in just a few games.

“The top four is up for grabs. They definitely need to get back into Europe, fourth or fifth position is a really realistic goal for Arsenal this season.”

Keown added that Arsenal now look to be much more balanced:

“It now feels like the team is starting to click into gear. The manager has found the players he can trust, starting with the keeper and the back four playing really solid.

“This group came together after this first international break. When they lost to City there seemed to be a major rethink and he brought Gabriel and Ben White together for the first time. Tomiyasu coming in at right-back, he’s become a crowd favourite along with Ramsdale.

“Tierney has continued his good form at left-back and Tavares has come in now as well for some extra competition in that area. The back four has been really impressive.

“Before Palace, they were trying to play with one sitter in midfield, but ever since they played Partey and Lokonga together, who I really watching because he is a really mature player so you have that balance of Smith Rowe and Saka.

“But also the experience and know-how with Lacazette and Aubameyang in front of them. I think the manager has a much better balance now.”

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