Will Arsenal Buckle Under The Pressure?
The Gunners currently face a three-way battle against their London rivals Chelsea and Spurs to secure a top-four berth. Saturday night’s 1-0 win against QPR enabled Arsenal to move a step closer to securing Champions League football. Unfortunately, Manchester United could not do them the favour of beating Chelsea which would have kept Chelsea 2 points adrift of the Gunners but it was not to be.
Arsenal currently sit in fourth, 2 points above Spurs in fifth and 1 point behind Chelsea, having played one game more than both Chelsea and Spurs. If both these London clubs can win their respective game in hand, they will push Arsenal to fifth in the League.
Arsenal can only win their remaining games and watch the drama unfold between the other two clubs. That’s exactly what they did on Saturday night, as Walcott scored the fastest goal of the season at 21 seconds to take the points back to the Emirates.
Relegated QPR did fight back into the game in the second half, but Arsenal hung on to climb back into third after Spurs had undeservingly won against a stubborn Southampton defence. Triple-award winner Gareth Bale scored a wonder goal in the dying minutes at White Hart Lane to send the Spurs fans into raptures.
Having watched Spurs claim three crucial points, the onus was on Arsenal to win at Loftus Road. And they overcame any lingering nerves to secure a priceless victory of their own. According to Metro, Arsenal forward Theo Walcott believes such a victory proves that his side can step up when the pressure is on.
He said, “It was a well worked goal. It’s always nice to get an early goal and settle the nerves. QPR deserve credit because they put us under a bit of pressure but our defence has been solid for the last few months now.”
The 20-goal winger was also asked whether his side can win the rest of their matches in order to qualify for the Champions League. He said, “Can we win our remaining games? Without a doubt! The way we’re playing as unit, we know we’re always going to score goals. When the pressure is on us everyone steps up.”
Spurs blew a 10-point lead last season and were ultimately forced to play in the Europa League despite finishing fourth. Chelsea finished outside the top-four, but won the Champions League and like Liverpool when they won it, got to enter the competition at the expense of the 4th place team from the Premier League. All Arsenal can do is win their remaining 2 games and hope for Spurs to draw or lose at least 1 game that will ensure Champions League qualification for the Gunners no matter what Chelsea do.