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Could a top four finish be bad for Arsenal?



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RYAN BAILEY: Welcome to FC Yahoo, ladies and gents.

Not so long ago, Arsenal's quest for a top four finish looked dead and buried.

But after winning four of their last five games, they've got a very realistic chance of hosting Champions League football next season.

There are nine points left on the table right now, with Stoke, Sunderland, and Everton left to play.

Stoke and Everton are in pretty poor form, and Sunderland are just poor in general.

So maximum points is pretty realistic.

By winning those remaining games, there are two ways they can sneak into the top four.

Firstly, by overtaking Man City.

Their hardest game comes this weekend, with a visit of Leicester, who beat them 4-2 earlier in the season, of course.

If they lose three points the Foxes again, Arsenal could finish above them on goal difference.

And then there's Liverpool, who only have two games left, at West Ham, where title-chasing Spurs lost last weekend, and then hosting Middlesbrough, who recently held Man City to a draw.

If they slip up in either game, even with a draw, Arsenal can swoop in and take that Champions League spot.

And we know Liverpool are partial to slipping up at this time of year.


So it really is doable.

But is actually what's best for Arsenal to finish in the top four?

If they do it, Champions League football means they will be able to hold on to stars like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

It means there'll be funds to further strengthen the team.

And it means 21 consecutive seasons in the top four.

That's absolutely incredible.

That's really a record to be proud of.

But it also might mean that nothing changes.

A top four finish and a possible FA cup win will give Arsene Wenger the mandate he needs to stay on, enraging the Wenger out contingent, and ensuring the status quo.

There will be no positive progress.

As long as the club keep getting that sweet Champions League money, the board and the shareholders will not want to clear house or make any changes.

It really wouldn't be worthwhile for them to do so.

So in that sense, a top four finish will blunt the fans' aspirations for a title challenge, and they can all look forward to just getting hammered by Bayern Munich again next year.

Not much fun.

It might actually be better for Arsenal to finish outside the top four.

That way, there's a clear reason for Wenger to move on.

There's an opportunity for a fresh start.

And there'll be no European campaign getting in the way of that title challenge.

Having no European soccer, after all, did wonders for Chelsea this season, and Leicester last season.

Of course, there's also a scenario where they finish outside the top four, the Wenger reign ends, a new manager is appointed, and the club massively underachieves for several seasons, as we saw when Alex Ferguson left Manchester United.

But with a finish outside the top four, Arsenal fans have hope that things will change.

With a top four finish, that hope is probably extinguished.

So what do you think?

Is a top four finish for Arsenal a good thing or a bad thing?

Have your say at FCYahoo on Twitter.

I've been Ryan Bailey.

Thanks so much for watching.

Love to your mothers.

See you next time.