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Charlie Nicholas: Arsenal legend backs Unai Emery's side to finish strongly and secure a top-four finish in the Premier League

Unai Emery: The Arsenal manager's ideas are getting across well in his first season at the Emirates
Unai Emery: The Arsenal manager's ideas are getting across well in his first season at the Emirates

In his latest Sporting Life.com column, Arsenal legend Charlie Nicholas says his former club can use their run-in to their advantage to finish in a Champions League spot this season.

People were saying that Spurs staying in the Champions League was a massive push for them but I don’t think so, big clubs need the wins to get their belief back and that was a great result for Tottenham, we will wait and see who they get in the draw.

I felt they had enough with two points ahead of Arsenal, but they lost at Southampton and Arsenal beat Man United, so Arsenal have to become the favourites for the top four.

It was a good clean sheet and performance against Man United at the Emirates. I was questioning the keeper with an inconsistent defence in front of him. Leno is quite bold and tries to play out from the back.

He will make mistakes but who doesn’t? Arsenal have signed a top-class goalkeeper I feel.

Arsenal's Bernd Leno closes down Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk
Arsenal's Bernd Leno closes down Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk earlier in the season

Arsenal have more power and pace with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette playing together. Mesut Ozil played OK and I was happy with the response. Grant Xhaka turned up again, there was pace, commitment and togetherness in there.

Arsenal don’t have the worst run-in, so a strong points total is certainly something they can achieve.

Chelsea can turn so cold at times so if you block Eden Hazard, you block them while Spurs still have to go Man City and Liverpool.

Verdict

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores a penalty for Arsenal against Manchester United at the Emirates
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scores a penalty for Arsenal against Manchester United at the Emirates

Arsenal have the best run-in so I am going to with them to finish third. Tottenham are in free-fall at the moment and have to go Liverpool and Man City so, even though Manchester United suffered a first league defeat under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, I expect them to be resilient and have enough in them to finish inside the top four.

Charlie's top-four race finishing order

3. Arsenal

4. Man United (6/4 for top four finish with Sky Bet)

5. Tottenham

6. Chelsea


Odds correct as of 1830 GMT on 13/03/19

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Most Read Football

Saturday's best bets1

Saturday's Bets of the Day

Our team highlight their best Saturday bets, with Matt Brocklebank waiting until the evening card at Kempton and George Pitts looking at Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Check out today's Paper Talk2

Paper Talk: £65m Maguire?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gives green light on big-money Harry Maguire move and Man City want £105m-rated wonderkid, according to the back pages.

3

Sporting Life Accumulator

With the international break pausing action in the Championship, we have backed four teams in League One and League Two...

Birmingham City's St. Andrews Stadium4

Birmingham hit with points deduction

Birmingham City have been deducted nine points following a breach of the EFL's Profitability and Sustainability rules.

Jonathan Walters5

Walters forced to retire from football

Burnley and Republic of Ireland striker Jonathan Walters has announced that he has been forced to retire from football due to a long-standing Achilles injury.

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