The Gunners were in third position going into the weekend encounter against title-winners Manchester United, but a 1-1 draw meant that they were leapfrogged by their London rivals Chelsea, who secured a 2-0 win against Swansea.
It was a bright start for the Gunners and they took the lead inside two minutes as Walcott breezed past left-back Evra to put Arsenal in front; however, replays suggested that he was marginally offside. They dominated the proceedings from there on, but were unable to add to their tally. It was seemingly inevitable that their former player would come back to haunt them, as Robin Van Persie earned and scored a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Neither side could find the target in the second half, which meant Arsenal dropped two crucial points in the race for the Champions League spots. They are one point behind Chelsea and two above Spurs, albeit having played a game more than their London rivals.
According to London Evening Standard, Wenger has issued a warning to his squad that they cannot drop any more points if they want to ply their trade in Europe’s elite next season. He said, “If we win our other games it will be enough. I am convinced we will be there (in the top four) but there is no room for dropping points. But the other teams are in the same position.”
However, the Gunners are not in as comfortable a position as it may have sounded from the words of Wenger. Their destiny is out of their hands since they may not finish in the top four even if they win their remaining fixtures.
Spurs would finish above Arsenal if they win their remaining fixtures, and so would Chelsea, if they win all their matches except the all-important Spurs clash at home next midweek.
However, Arsenal’s rivals have the tougher fixtures to contend with, especially Chelsea who face Spurs and Everton at home, and United away. All the Gunners can do now is try to win all their remaining fixtures and hope that their rivals drop points, otherwise it could mean Europa League football for them.