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Kevin Campbell tells Arsenal to meet Man City's asking price for Gabriel Jesus

Kevin Campbell believes Arsenal should meet Manchester City's £40m valuation for Gabriel Jesus. (Author: Gardener)

Kevin CampbellKevin Campbell believes Arsenal should meet Manchester City's £40m valuation for Gabriel Jesus, calling the striker "great value for money". Jesus, 25, could be available at the end of the season as his contract expires next year and the Brazilian is looking for a new challenge. The Gunners are looking to sign at least one centre-forward in the summer to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who joined Barcelona in January, and reports suggest Jesus is a top target for manager Mikel Arteta. City are believed to want £40million for Jesus and Campbell, the former Arsenal striker, has urged his old side to pay the money. Speaking to Football Insider, he said: "This is great value for money. I think Jesus would be a really good signing if Arsenal can get him. "He caught fire in City. He knows Arteta's system and he knows what Arteta wants from his players. “He can also play in several positions. That means Arsenal could also bring in another striker and play together. Since joining the club in 2017, Jesus has played a small role at City and until recently appeared to have failed in his quest to become the side's leading centre-forward. However, Jesus has resurfaced, scoring six goals in his last six starts for Pep Guardiola's side. However, with Erling Haaland expected to join City from Dortmund, Jesus will once again be pushed down the pecking order at the Etihad. Arsenal are keen to sign him with Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah leaving at the end of the season on expiring contracts. In fourth place, four points clear of Tottenham, the Gunners are on pole position to qualify for the Champions League next season, which would improve their chances of dressing Jesus. MORE: Paddy Kenny says Arsenal could 'easily sign' Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City this summer. For more stories like this, visit our sports page. Follow Metro Sport for the latest news

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How Mikel Arteta sparked Arsenal's attack on the top 4

The Gunners return to Europe's elite competition when they win at Tottenham on Thursday night (Author: Gardener)

ArsenalArsenal are close to ending a five-year wait for Champions League football as the win over Leeds cemented their place in the Premier League top four. The Gunners will return to Europe's elite competition if they win at Tottenham on Thursday night as Mikel Arteta continues to turn around a season that started in the worst possible way. Arsenal were the Premier League's lowest point without a point or a goal and went into the international break in September but are now close to a top-four finish. Here we look at how Arteta managed to initiate such a recovery. One only has to look at the stats of the current Arsenal squad to see just how much confidence there has been in youth at the Emirates Stadium this season. Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Eddie Nketiah lead the lead - 12, 11 and nine goals respectively - with only Alexandre Lacazette providing more assists than Saka's six. The team is by far the youngest average age in the English top flight, with the likes of Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Odegaard, Gabriel Magalhaes and Takehiro Tomiyasu also impressing at various stages of the season. As well as having a young squad, Arteta has one of the smallest in the Premier League and - with both Kieran Tierney and Thomas Partey sidelined for the remainder of the season - concerns about the depth of resources. Those worries have so far been alleviated by the form of the fringe players available to Arteta. Nketiah too has capitalized on his chance after replacing Lacazette as first-choice striker, but it's the form of Mohamed Elneny - who hasn't kicked a ball for Arsenal this calendar year before being drafted to start the win at Chelsea - who embodies has the commitment to the cause for those who are not often called upon. "All the players that are here, I'm counting on them. If they want to get on the boat, they are more than welcome and that's always my attitude," Mikel Arteta said in June 2020. Add to that the loan deals of Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira and while Arteta's squad seems to be shrinking, those who remain have helped Pilot the Arsenal ship through some turbulent sections as the top four and treasury of the Champions League come into view.

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How gritty Gunners have shown their ugly side to find themselves on the brink of a Champions League return

Arsenal: How gritty Gunners showed their ugly side to teeter on the brink of Champions League return - (Author: Gardener)

Champions LeagueIt's a wonder none of Mikel Arteta's jet black hair turned gray during this race to qualify for the Champions League. Even Arsenal's win over Leeds yesterday, which at half-time looked like it would be easy, was filled with nervousness and tension in the closing stages. With Arteta's side taking a 2-0 lead within 10 minutes thanks to a brace from Eddie Nketiah and Luke Ayling being sent off to Leeds just before the half-hour mark, Arsenal went into overdrive and thoughts of Tottenham began as early as Thursday. But Diego Llorente's goal in the 66th minute provided a nervous finish and the home fans at the Emirates Stadium heaved a collective sigh of relief when the final whistle finally blew. "I think we did a lot of stages well, but we had to score the third goal," said Arteta. "We had the chances and then the accident happens the first time they went through a set piece and we conceded a goal and the game goes on and there are some nerves to be managed." However, Arsenal now know they have just one win left away from crossing the finish line. If they beat Tottenham on Thursday, their Champions League return will be confirmed for the first time since the 2016/17 season. Four wins on the spin put Arsenal in that position. As with all of their recent victories, Arteta's side weren't at their best against Leeds but she found a way to secure the three points that put them four ahead of Spurs. Nketiah pressed Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier for his first goal and saved it to score while coming home cool for the second after good work from Gabriel Martinelli down the left. Eddie Nketiah rewarded Mikel Arteta's confidence with a brace for Arsenal against Leeds (AP). As Arteta lamented, Arsenal didn't kill the game from there but they dug in towards the end and held on. There has been a lack of that in previous seasons, but in the last month or so this side has shown a lot of guts - and that could be crucial in getting them over the line. "We find ways to win football games," Arteta said. They don't expect to be on the line all the time for 95 minutes. We deal with that and we get better because in the end we win football games.” Nketiah got his chance because Alexandre Lacazette was ill with Covid-19 last month, but Arteta is sticking with the young striker and his faith is being rewarded. The same goes for Mohamed Elneny, who is arguably playing the best football of his Arsenal career in Thomas Partey's absence. Both Elneny and Nketiah excelled against Leeds and it is believed they will play a big role at Tottenham on Thursday. Leeds tried that but they lacked a focus in attack and their wingers were isolated throughout the game. However, Arsenal can refer to their recent run as a reason for optimism. At the crucial stage of the season, they dug deep and found ways to win ugly. And if they do that again at Tottenham, a place in the Champions League will be theirs.

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Crooks tells Arsenal a replacement for Aubameyang has already been found

Arsenal moved a step closer to a Champions League return, beating Leeds United 2-1 at the Emirates, with Eddie Nketiah scoring a brace to take his tally to 9 in all competitions (Author: Gardener)

AubameyangArsenal moved one step closer to a Champions League return, beating Leeds United 2-1 at the Emirates, with Eddie Nketiah scoring a brace to take his tally to 9 in all competitions. Mikel Arteta has been warned that leaving Eddie Nketiah at Arsenal would be "extraordinary" when the forward finally fills the void left by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. In an Nketiah-inspired performance, the Gunners defeated Leeds United 2-1 at the Emirates on Sunday, taking a step closer to a return to the Champions League. The 22-year-old scored a quick brace to give the hosts two goals in good standing before Diego Llorente halved the deficit for 10-man Leeds after Luke Ayling was sacked. The win over Leeds was the Gunners' fourth Premier League win on the spin, with Nketiah playing a crucial role in their recovery in form. After spending much of the season on the bench, the soon-to-be free agent has started in his last five league games, scoring four goals. Despite this fine form, his future remains uncertain as his current contract expires at the end of the season. And Garth Crooks has warned Arteta he must not allow him to leave, touting him as a long-term replacement for former captain Aubaemyang, who joined Barcelona in January. "It looks like Arsenal have finally found a striker to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang," Crooks explained in his BBC Sport column. "I find it exceptional that a 22-year-old England striker who finds himself playing the football of his life at a club like Arsenal shouldn't let his future be nailed down by this club. Garth Crooks has told Mikel Arteta that allowing Eddie Nketiah to leave Arsenal would be "extraordinary". Should Arsenal give Nketiah a new contract? Let us know in the comments. Even if Arsenal bought a renowned goalscorer, they would be mad to let Nketiah go." Nketiah joins Alexandre Lacazette and Mohamed Elneny as players whose future is in the balance and Arteta has remained coy about the England Under-21 international will actually sign a new contract. "Eddie's doing what he's been doing all season," he explained. Nketiah scored twice in Arsenal's 2-1 win over Leeds United at Emirates Let him be. Nketiah has made it clear that he wants to play football regularly and is delighted to finally achieve that at the end of the season: "Every player just wants to play and take his chances," he told Sky Sports of Leeds after the win. "I've worked hard all season to make sure I'm ready when I get my chance and give credit to my teammates for helping me play well and do well.

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How gritty Gunners have shown their ugly side to find themselves on the brink of a Champions League return

With Arteta's side taking a 2-0 lead within 10 minutes thanks to a brace from Eddie Nketiah and Luke Ayling being sent off to Leeds just before the half-hour mark, Arsenal went into overdrive and thoughts of Tottenham began as early as Thursday. "I think we did a lot of stages well, but we had to score the third goal," said Arteta. (Author: Gardener)

Champions LeagueEven Arsenal's win over Leeds yesterday, which at half-time looked like it would be easy, was filled with nervousness and tension in the closing stages. With Arteta's side taking a 2-0 lead within 10 minutes thanks to a brace from Eddie Nketiah and Luke Ayling being sent off to Leeds just before the half-hour mark, Arsenal went into overdrive and thoughts of Tottenham began as early as Thursday. But Diego Llorente's goal in the 66th minute provided a nervous finish and the home fans at the Emirates Stadium heaved a collective sigh of relief when the final whistle finally blew. "I think we did a lot of stages well, but we had to score the third goal," said Arteta. "We had the chances and then the accident happens the first time they went through a set piece and we conceded a goal and the game goes on and there are some nerves to be managed." However, Arsenal now know they have just one win left away from crossing the finish line. If they beat Tottenham on Thursday, their Champions League return will be confirmed for the first time since the 2016/17 season. As with all of their recent victories, Arteta's side weren't at their best against Leeds but she found a way to secure the three points that put them four ahead of Spurs. Nketiah pressed Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier for his first goal and saved it to score while coming home cool for the second after good work from Gabriel Martinelli down the left. As Arteta lamented, Arsenal didn't kill the game from there but they dug in towards the end and held on. There has been a lack of that in previous seasons, but in the last month or so this side has shown a lot of guts - and that could be crucial in getting them over the line. "We find ways to win football games," Arteta said. They don't expect to be on the line all the time for 95 minutes. We deal with that and we get better because at the end of the day we win football games.” The same applies to Mohamed Elneny, who probably plays the best football of his Arsenal career in the absence of Thomas Partey. Both Elneny and Nketiah excelled against Leeds and it is believed they will play a big role at Tottenham on Thursday. The game against Leeds could reflect that in some ways, with Spurs being at their most threatening when they sit deep and hit teams on the counter. Leeds tried that but they lacked a focus in attack and their wingers were isolated throughout the game. However, Arsenal can refer to their recent run as a reason for optimism. At the crucial stage of the season, they dug deep and found ways to win ugly. And if they do that again at Tottenham, a place in the Champions League will be theirs.

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Elneny's long journey back from 'outside' Arsenal to help push the Champions League

On one occasion, the much-maligned Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny has revealed what it was like to be told he wasn't originally part of Mikel Arteta's first-team plans (Author: Gardener)

ElnenyThe once much-maligned Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny has revealed what it was like to be told he wasn't originally part of Mikel Arteta's first-team plans and Arsenal are now at the helm for the first time in six years Threshold of Champions League qualification as they take that coveted fourth spot with just three games left. Mikel Arteta's men appeared to be struggling without midfield talisman Thomas Partey, who picked up an injury in the Crystal Palace defeat that ruled him out for the remainder of the season. In his place, Arteta has opted to use Mohamed Elneny in the summer to sign Albert Sambi Lokonga. With the latter being just 22, the Gunners boss felt Elneny's experience and reliability were a more attractive trait at such a crucial stage in the campaign. Elneny has had to deal with a supporting role under three different managers for much of his Arsenal career, but he has emerged when his side needed him most in recent weeks. However, the 29-year-old was previously close to leaving the Gunners for good - especially having just returned from a loan spell at Turkish giants Besiktas. "I'm going to tell you something I've never told anyone before. When I finished my loan, the club told me to find another team," explained the midfielder. "Arteta doesn't have me in his plans, it was over. Mikel Arteta reintegrated Mohamed Elneny into the first team. Does Elneny deserve a new contract at Arsenal? "My agent suggested returning to Arsenal for the pre-season, I told him, if that's what the club want then fine - if not then I've had a great season at Besiktas and they want me, just like other Premier League clubs. The club decided I would return for the pre-season but remember Arteta had me outside of his plans. "I trained well and played the first friendly and scored a goal from the halfway line - Arteta started to see when he gives instructions I know what he wants. I can read his plan and I carry it out to the letter. Elnenys The dedication, Following his manager's instructions seems to have paid off as reports circulate that the Egyptian could be rewarded with a new contract.The former Basel man's performances on the pitch have not only played a huge role in bringing Arsenal into the position they're in at the moment but he's always popular throughout the Gunners' dressing room Arteta oversees the youngest squad in the Premier League and is also the youngest manager, so any player with the skills required who also has Valuable leadership and ample experience Elneny is likely to feature in all three of Arsenal's remaining Premier League games be there who will determine their status in Europe next year, including Thursday night's grudge against local rivals and Champions League contenders Tottenham.

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North London faces a season-defining derby

Tottenham and Arsenal face off in the biggest north London derby in recent memory on Thursday night. The close neighbors fight to claim t (Author: Gardener)

North LondonTottenham and Arsenal face off in the biggest north London derby in recent memory on Thursday night. Arsenal beat Leeds on Sunday and extended a four-point lead over Spurs after Saturday's draw at Liverpool. Antonio Conte's side know they must win to keep their hopes of top-flight European football alive next season. Meanwhile, a win for the Gunners secures them at least fourth place this season. The Premier League clash takes place on Thursday 12 May. Arsenal defeated Spurs 3-1 in the second leg in September, with Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka on target. This game will be streamed live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League from 19:00. Sky Sports customers can live stream this via the app using their mobile, tablet or computer. To tune in to talkSPORT or talkSPORT 2, click HERE for the live stream. * TV - Listen to talkSPORT on your TV on the following channels: Sky: Channel 0108 Virgin Media: Channel 927 Freeview: Channel 723 Freesat: Channel 731 Spurs have no new injury problems but remain without Sergio Reguilon. Arsenal star Bukaya Saka is fit to start despite being eliminated early on by Leeds. "We obviously know this can be a pivotal moment and that's an extra layer of motivation and another layer for us to really get going and I can't wait to play this game. “Now is the crucial moment where one goal can change the whole season and that plays out in the back of players' minds but I didn't see any of that against Leeds. "We know that nothing has been achieved yet and there are still many things and many minutes to play to achieve what we want to achieve." * Victory for Arsenal secures them their highest Premier League finish (fourth at least) since of the 2015-16 season when they finished second. It is also the first time since this season that they have finished above their north London rivals Tottenham. * After a run of four straight Premier League wins, Tottenham have won just one of the last four (D2 L1). However, Spurs have won four of their last five league home (L1) games and have scored at least three goals in all four wins. * This is only the second meeting between Tottenham and Arsenal on a Thursday, the other taking place almost 50 years ago to the day - a 2-0 win for Spurs at Highbury on 11 May 1972. * Tottenham want three wins win back-to-back league home games against Arsenal for the first time since August 1961. * Arsenal are looking to complete their first league double against Tottenham since the 2013/14 season after beating the Emirates 3-1 in September. * Tottenham are unbeaten in their last seven home league games against Arsenal (W5 W2), the longest run of its kind against their north London rivals since nine games between 1960 and 1968. * Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka both featured on the Arsenal goalscoring chart in the 3-1 win over Spurs in the second leg. The last Englishman to score for the Gunners in home and away games against Spurs in a single season was Ian Wright in 1993/94. * Tottenham striker Harry Kane is the top scorer in north London Derby history in all competitions, scoring 11 goals in his 16 games for Spurs against Arsenal. However, he hasn't scored in either of his last two appearances against the Gunners, his longest drought against them of his career. * Having failed to score or assist in any of his first nine Premier League games against Arsenal, Tottenham's son Heung-min has been involved in five goals (3 goals, 2 assists) in his last four derby games in north London. * Spurs manager Antonio Conte has won just one of his eight meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (U4 N3), all of which took place between 2016 and 2018 as Chelsea manager. Of clubs he has played at least five times in his managerial career On no side does the Italian have a lower win rate than against the Gunners (12.5%).

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Arsenal's defining moment: The Gunners' Champions League fate is just 90 minutes away

Arsenal now know they can secure a top four finish and a return to the Champions League by winning Thursday's North London Derby at Tottenham (Author: Gardener)

The Gunners' Champions LeagueArsenal is a game away. Win at Tottenham on Thursday and it's done, they will be back in the Champions League for the first time since 2017. It looked like they missed their big chance when they suffered three straight defeats in April, but a fabulous run of four straight wins has revived a season that seemed on the brink of collapse. Mikel Arteta's side went into Sunday's game against Leeds knowing that a win would put them four points clear of Tottenham ahead of this week's crucial derby in north London. "I've seen games like this in this league," said Arteta after the win. “We really gave everything, forward without hesitation and showed quality. We scored two goals, they go to 10 men and then you have to play another game. "I think we did our thing right but we didn't score the third goal and that was the killer. Arsenal just managed to manage those nerves in some frantic final moments at the Emirates Stadium, but if you thought those were strained wait until Thursday's game comes around. However, given the start of the season, it's remarkable where Arteta's side are now in position. There was talk of a relegation battle as they started the season with three straight defeats and advanced into the Premier League's first international break without having scored a goal. But they have since won 21 of their 31 league games and are now just 90 minutes from doom. Champions League football is just a game away and the fact that they could do the job at Tottenham of all places will only add to the drama this week. Thursday night's derby is quite simply the biggest game Arsenal have played in years. "As always, we want to prepare and attack for this game," said Arteta. I can't wait to play this game.” No one will be more aware of what Champions League football will mean for Arsenal than Arteta. As a player he was a regular in Europe's elite club competition for the Gunners but those days feel like a distant memory in north London. Bringing Arsenal back to the top of European football as a manager will be a huge achievement for the Spaniard after such disappointing years for the club. Arteta has constantly told fans to "trust the process" since he replaced Unai Emery and that process would take a monumental shot in the arm should Champions League football return. It would put Arsenal in a much stronger position when it comes to fending off interest in star players with, for example, contract talks looming with Bukayo Saka this summer. It will be much easier to convince the England star that he could fulfill his ambitions at Arsenal should they be in the Champions League. The financial boost would also be huge, allowing the Gunners to be much more aggressive in the transfer market ahead of next season. "We don't have to explain the importance of the game," Arteta said, referring to Thursday night's clash at Tottenham. “We now have an opportunity to do it against them and all our spirit and energy will be on that. It's been done all season.” Arsenal have always enjoyed historic triumphs in the home country of their bitter rivals. They won the Premier League title at White Hart Lane in 1971 and repeated the trick in 2004 when Arsene Wenger's Invincibles sealed their historic Premier League crown. The title may not be at stake this time but it's impossible to downplay the importance of this young Arsenal side finally ending the club's five-year absence from the Champions League. Reclaiming a place in Europe's elite has sometimes felt like a million miles away in recent years, but now it's just 90 minutes.

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Man City take control, Nketiah Arsenal save, Maguire's mistake at Man Utd

Jurgen Klopp may be unhappy with Tottenham's game but Manchester City don't care and he's taken full advantage of it (Author: Gardener)

Man CityThe Score is Daniel Storey's weekly assessment of the performance of all 20 Premier League teams. Someone finally blinked in the title race and Jurgen Klopp wasn't happy with Tottenham's game. Manchester City won't care; they took advantage of it. Elsewhere, Leeds produced a shambolic 30 minutes when they could least afford it, while Manchester United did much the same throughout the game against Brighton. Many Arsenal fans long ago lost faith in Alexandre Lacazette and they lamented the club's decision to let Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang go on a free contract. Come in front of Eddie Nketiah, a young man who has been desperate for more time to impress in the Premier League and has done remarkably well under the circumstances. It's a lot harder than you think to get on a team and get along with those around you right away, even if you train together every day. Nketiah scored twice against Chelsea, effectively pulling Arsenal back into the top-four race. He then shone against Manchester United despite missing a couple of chances he probably should have ended. He was a little calmer against West Ham last weekend when Arsenal won by two set-pieces, but scored twice in the first ten minutes against former club Leeds on Sunday. Nketiah now has as many league goals as Lacazette in about 30 percent of the minutes. More importantly, he seems able to press with this side's attacking midfielders to threaten Arsenal after they lose the ball. At 22, it's no exaggeration to say he's bailed out his Arsenal career in recent weeks. Did Steven Gerrard get the second half of this season wrong? You can totally understand why a) he wanted to sign Philippe Coutinho when it became clear that the Brazilian was ready for the move and b) why he started Coutinho almost every game after his signing, but it's certainly true that the results von Villa didn't really improve with him in the team. They were 1.5 points per game under Gerrard before Coutinho came on and were 1.3 points per game when he started. More specifically, Coutinho's arrival has limited Emi Buendia's starts and also the responsibility for him to create anything. Buendia has started six league games since Coutinho's debut but five of those came alongside him. With the Brazilian demanding the ball and dominating Villa's game, Buendia was left as a secondary creative option. And in this scenario, having him on the side in the first place makes a lot less sense. After paying £40million for Buendia, a player they had been following for some time, it really made sense to reduce his creative role in favor of a loanee when there was no guarantee Coutinho would stay, and Buendia in that role doing pretty well yourself? Finally, on Saturday, Gerrard started without Coutinho in Buendia for the first time. Buendia, who was asked to be the chief creator, scored one goal, created another and was instrumental in the third. But Villa effectively signed a player for the one position they had already signed their club record for and a player capable of doing exactly the same successfully. For most of their promotion campaign, Thomas Frank fielded Brentford with a four-man defense that allowed them to field two fast wingers to support Ivan Toney as a centre-forward. Then, in April, they made the successful switch to a five-man defence, starting with a 5-0 away win at Preston. Frank then stuck to that five-man defense in the Premier League and not unreasonably believed that Brentford needed a little more defensive security. It largely worked: Brentford consolidated in the Premier League. Although Toney has often found himself a bit isolated, Brentford have the second-best defense in the bottom nine and have still managed to score more than a goal per game. But with Brentford safe, Frank has switched back to a four-man defense, turning that into a 4-3-3 instead of 4-5-1 in recent games. In the three games that Brentford have used this formation, they have beaten West Ham 2-0, Watford 2-1 and Southampton 3-0. On Saturday it was the pace of those wingers that caused Southampton the most problems. Although the centre-forward failed to score, he employed the centre-backs to create time and space for both his sides. It will be interesting to see if Frank sticks to the 4-3-3 next season and only uses the five-man defense away against higher-tier opponents who he can hit at the break. The only opponents he has used a back five against since mid-February are Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United. They picked up five extra points in his debut season than the previous season, matched that total in his second and will again pick up between six and ten extra points in 2021-22. He believes the club's recruitment model over this period will allow them to develop players, sell the stars and then wisely reinvest the proceeds to improve the overall quality of the squad. The gradual improvement is great and Brighton fans love Potter dearly, but there's nothing like the odd outstanding performance to really hang your hat on. They beat Manchester City on the final day of last season, but City had already been confirmed as champions. That being said, they had gone 14 months without beating a so-called Big Six team at home or away. Since then, Brighton have won at Tottenham, won at Arsenal and torn Manchester United from start to finish on Saturday. Brighton had not won at home since Boxing Day but were tireless and brilliant. Moises Caicedo (whom we talked about here last week) was great; He was a £4.5million contract from Independiente del Valle and offers good reason to sell Yves Bissouma at a premium this summer. Burnley's improvement over the last few weeks (and this is by no means meant to disparage this work or suggest that their approach wasn't the right way) has been achieved by becoming a fair bit more expansive and open. They thought, not without reason, that Burnley is usually pretty good at defending (although that had fallen off badly). But that can leave you a bit torn apart, especially when neither of your two central midfielders (Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill in this case) is protecting defense and neither is playing well. In just six games this season, Burnley have conceded an expected goal total of 1.8 or more against a non-Big Six team. Two of those have come under interim management in their last five games. Burnley's stretch won them games against Southampton and Watford. But with that defeat potentially putting Burnley back in relegation, Jackson and Mee will have to think about it this week. A loss to Leeds on Wednesday and Tottenham's win over Arsenal on Thursday would separate the fourth, fifth and sixth-placed clubs by just two points, but Chelsea have a far better goal difference and would likely only need to beat either Watford or Leicester at home to secure Champions League football. But it's certainly true that the joy of Chelsea's season has waned over the past two months. Uncertainty over ownership (and there are still plenty of people who don't realize how sticky this could get if Roman Abramovich continues to put sticks between the spokes) clearly hasn't helped, but Thomas Tuchel seems to have lost a little control about his team. Chelsea have won four of their last ten games in all competitions and lost four. One of those wins saw them eliminated from the Champions League. "I have to look at it again, but it was a lack of discipline and execution of the game plan throughout a half and we're being punished for that," said Tuchel after the game, who was visibly unhappy with many of his older players. "At half-time I reminded the team to stick to the plan in a more disciplined manner, we did that and we led 2-0 and risked too much again. We challenged big chances and then you lose confidence and you let your opponents smell something is possible when it's absolutely unnecessary.” And for all the brilliance of last season, which culminated in that Champions League final win, this was it a season with lower yields. Don't forget that Chelsea were widely touted as potential champions in August. They're on course for 73 points and fourth place. They parted ways with Maurizio Sarri after he had 72 points and third place. Two weeks ago, after Palace lost their FA Cup semi-final to Chelsea, this column urged them to try and end their league season as strong as possible. No flip-flops here - Palace were at this point on course to finish on exactly the same score as last season under Roy Hodgson. In the three games since - two wins and a draw - we've seen some of Palace's most expansive football games, not always with full reward. It's important they played in disarray against two struggling sides and one Southampton side, but still: Palace had more than five shots on target in two of those games (and five in the other). They only did that nine times all season. On Saturday, Vieira included Eberechi Eze, Michael Olise and Wilfried Zaha in the same starting XI for the first time in the Premier League. Zaha's future is uncertain (doesn't that seem to happen every summer?) and his 13 league goals from a non-central striker will be very difficult to replace but in Eze and Olise you have the future of this club. If Conor Gallagher isn't at Selhurst Park next season, they'll have to build on pace in a lot of areas. He was the subject of the Everton section last week, but there's no harm in continuing to praise Jordan Pickford after he finally swept Everton from the side in a big win that saw Everton once again as his side's best player along with the defeats of Leeds and Burnley Relegation probabilities increases to the relegation possibilities. During Everton's last four positives, victories against Manchester United and Chelsea and four points from two games against Leicester, Pickford has been sensational. Everton have allowed their opponents an overall xG of 5.4 in these games. They were partially saved by poor finishing (Harvey Barnes' header on Sunday being the best example) and Pickford's excellence. You can give Leeds an iota for their performance in the second half when they really caused Arsenal problems despite having a man down on the pitch, but the first 30 minutes was probably the worst half hour of football this season by any Premier League -Teams not already relegated. Count the mistakes: the careless start despite the obvious importance of the game, the defense for the first goal and the lack of improvement for the second, the ball didn't stick forward, Luke Ayling's dismal decision to fly into a challenge that was a certain red card, Raphinha's pathetic arguments, which could actually end with the dismissal. There are ways to deal with frustration; Leeds' reactions to their adversity suggest they are barely able to handle the pressure. Many Leeds supporters will lament Jesse Marsch, although they certainly went down with Marcelo Bielsa. There's a certain logic to that: It's Marsch's job to prepare the team and they looked badly undercooked in the first quarter of the game. The Leeds boardroom knew this season was going to be more difficult than the last. Instead, Leeds bought Dan James and tried to play him as a striker and left-back at Junior Firpo, who had been struggling to settle in. Then, when injuries struck, the players had to operate out of position because there simply wasn't any other option for the first team to step in. On Sunday, Leeds Under-23s suffered relegation on the final day, mainly because most of the best players are now with the senior side. With Leicester conceding two more goals from set pieces (one against Roma, one against Everton) one of the problems is that Kasper Schmeichel is too reluctant to come and try to win the ball? But then he retreats to his own gate, although the cross is very close to its place. Abraham touched the ball five yards from Schmeichel's goal, so the massive contact didn't give the goalkeeper a chance. Schmeichel could not have come and claimed the Everton corner but by the time the first header comes he has retreated to his own goal and actually has one foot over the goal line. That makes jumping more difficult and results in his save pushing the ball just two yards from his own goal where Mason Holgate has an easy time. This is clearly not all on Schmeichel - it would be nice to see Leicester defenders actually tag their players and win headers. But I wonder if that positioning actually exacerbates Leicester's set-piece problems. It's never easy for managers to speak up straight after the game, especially when there has been such a disappointing final result. "I'm sorry, I'm the wrong person to ask about [Spurs' defence] because I don't like that type of football," said Klopp. I think they are world class and I think they should do more for the game. "It's a game against Liverpool, they have 36 percent possession. World-class players who block all balls. No one is asking Klopp to change the way he plays, but there is obvious condescension in those words. First of all, Spurs hardly played like Atletico Madrid. They did block a lot of balls - these days they'll throw you in jail if you say you want to defend well - but they didn't resort to Simeone-style dark arts. And despite all the complaints about their defense and possession, Tottenham picked up the pressure and had as many shots on target as Liverpool. They also had about the same expected number of goals and should have won the game with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's late header half-pass half-shot. Klopp was clearly frustrated, but he needs to know that teams are probably seeing their best shot at resisting rather than bowing to this rampant attack. If that means asking “world-class” players to deal with half-chances instead of being supported by overworked full-backs and central midfielders, then so be it. The best solution is the one that offers you the highest chance of success, and Antonio Conte has nothing to be ashamed of. Plus, it's hardly like Conte has earned a reputation as a grisly dark arts trainer. His Chelsea side scored 85 goals in 2016/17 (more than Klopp's Liverpool) and his Inter side were the second-highest goalscorer in Serie A in both seasons there (both times behind a frankly outrageously funny Atalanta). And his Tottenham side have scored three or more goals in 13 of their 33 games in charge. Most of us assumed that Manchester City would have to win every game to the end in this title race, but Liverpool's surprise point loss to Tottenham (it says a lot about the level of these two teams that points losses against anyone come as a surprise) rather allowed it City to ease Madrid's agony before they'd even played. Who knows if it would have been different against Newcastle, more nervous if Liverpool had won. Instead, they strolled in the sun, won the game early and then capped it with two goals in the final three minutes to put them four goals clear of Liverpool and three points. I'm not sure that will be as important as Martin Tyler was keen to reiterate - if City lose a game it would certainly allow Liverpool to overtake that goal advantage but it's certainly relevant. Raheem Sterling is still a presenter and a finisher (I still find it incredible that he's only started 22 league games this season). Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez were rested throughout and Phil Foden only played a crucial role in two goals. They want to make up for the disappointment in the Champions League with a fourth league title in five years. It should be an obvious statement, but many Manchester United supporters certainly seem to disagree: Can we finally conclude that Harry Maguire isn't/wasn't the problem with United's shambolic defence? There's no doubt he's not at all in shape at club level but United's continued misery without him at the side, coupled with his form internationally, suggests we have a broken environment, not a broken player. United have a winning record of 47 per cent with Maguire in their team this season and have won 29 per cent of their games without him. They also put in one of the club's most embarrassing defensive displays in a long, long time against Brighton, albeit with good competition from this season alone. Alex Telles' header and Victor Lindelof's terrible attempt to block for the first goal, Raphael Varane's mishandling for Danny Welbeck's chance, the large space granted to Leandro Trossard for the second goal (and more defenders turning their backs on him), Pascal Gross somehow finds more space in the middle of the box (and Varane sells again), Varane's ludicrous attempt to get out and let Welbeck run after him for the fourth - we could go on. Ralf Rangnick rightly called it his worst performance of his tenure, but the lack of pride and professionalism from a group of players looking to end the season and clearly having little intention of salvaging anything positive from this season is deeply problematic. Good luck Erik ten Hag; you will need it. Some things don't change: Newcastle have lost their last 13 league games away at Manchester City, conceding 46 goals. When their owners dream of becoming part of English football's elite, there's nothing like being pumped away from home, at the country's second-wealthiest club, to show just how much of a long-term process that will be. Newcastle's season has come to an end, although the visiting fans may be asking for an improvement in the soft defense shown. Manchester City's season isn't up and they have a better XI than Newcastle at every position. But if Eddie Howe uses these recent games to determine where his priorities lie in the transfer market, he'll probably need at least a left-back, a centre-back, a central midfielder, another forward, a right winger and, to find out, Allan Saint-Maximin can thrive with better options around them. Now give Kieran Trippier and Callum Wilson minutes to get fit and rotate the team to assess the fringe players. We've said that repeatedly this season, but it's hard to explain why Dean Smith was so keen to return to management so quickly by taking a job that seemed impossible. Norwich were relegated ahead of the weekend but it was still a terrible day. They faced a West Ham team who must have been down with 10 men after 70 minutes of play on Thursday night and yet were completely outplayed and hammered. Smith was clearly appointed to do more to get Norwich back on its feet (never watched) but that only underscores the oddness of his decision again. He must now try to overtake a squad that has twice shown they are not good enough for Premier League football. The psychological effects of a descent are certainly amplified when it happens a second time. If I had done an excellent job at Aston Villa, this one – or at least such an attractive job – would have come to mind. He may even have landed a Premier League job in the summer or early next season. Instead he falls into the Championship and is tasked with doing what Daniel Farke did by picking up Norwich as champions. This felt like an important day for Ralph Hasenhüttl. Not only were Southampton angered by the defeat at Brentford - a theme of their season - but the traveling support chanted that their manager should be sacked in the closing minutes of the game. If there's one thing fans understandably hate, it's following their team at great expense and hassle from home to watch a team they believe is a lot less about the outcome of the Game takes care of them. Since the beginning of March alone, Southampton have lost 4-0 at Aston Villa, 2-0 at Burnley and 3-0 at Brentford. It's a manager's job to take care of that, and Hasenhuttl doesn't have it. But then it's not a particularly good team. Nathan Redmond and Stuart Armstrong are fickle wingers, Armando Broja has faded badly, Adam Armstrong just hasn't worked and Jan Bednarek has been actively losing weight over the last 18 months. Southampton are not safe yet (although Leeds' woes suggest they will be fine) but they really need a change of mood in the summer if they are to avoid mingling with the promoted clubs. If that means moving out of Hasenhüttl, then enticing someone better to jump in without significant investment is a mighty difficult task. It sums up that very odd Tottenham season in which they pursued a series of managers before finally having to appoint Nuno Espirito Santo, sacking him after 17 games, appointing Antonio Conte and then listening to him threaten over the difficulties Getting players to go do what he wanted them to end the season with eight points from their four unbeaten games against Liverpool and Manchester City. In other words, Spurs have picked up more league points against the top two than against Southampton, Burnley, Brighton and Crystal Palace combined. A top-four spot is out of their reach even if they win the north London derby on Thursday night. Had they managed to beat Burnley at home, Southampton home or away, Everton away, Brighton at home or Wolves at home, they would be favorites for Champions League football next season. Since losing to Burnley in February, only Liverpool and Manchester City have picked up more points per game than they have in the Premier League. If Conte had joined last summer, they would certainly have finished in the top four. Just another "what could have been" but also a good reason to be optimistic about next season if he stays. "It's a privilege to be a Premier League player, coach or manager," Roy Hodgson said ahead of Watford's trip to Crystal Palace. The players have to realize that. We have a lot of messages for the players, but they often fall on deaf ears." Ben Foster repeated roughly the same message after the game: "We have too many players who like to put it in for an hour, 70 minutes but then probably fall off and let it go happily in the last 20 minutes. When you are a team like us, the minimum is to give everything you have. You can give up the ability a bit and accept that you might not have the quality of some players, but you have to make an effort.” Watford's culture of high turnover of players and managers is so well established that it's clear is a deliberate strategy, but is there a risk that it can create an environment where these players don't feel connected to the club and are therefore not quite as emotionally interested in staying up? It's only a theory (and it's very seldom anything but unconscious, although theory carries weight) but of the current 80 longest-serving players in the Premier League only one was in Watford's starting XI on Saturday ( Craig Cathcart). Will Ismaila Sarr, Emmanuel Dennis, Moussa Sissoko and Edo Kayembe still be at the club next season? A sorely disappointing trip to Frankfurt and a European dream that ended just as West Ham supporters began to believe in it. West Ham know that a place in the top six would mean automatic entry into the Europa League group stage, while seventh would still mean European football with the Conference League (although they would have to play a qualifying round). David Moyes had probably already decided to play with a strong side against Norwich (he did so for practically the entire Europa League season) but that decision will have been made easy by Manchester United's shambolic defeat by Brighton. This not only left West Ham six points behind United with two games in hand, but also dashed any hopes that United could beat West Ham on goal difference. Victory in Norwich was mildly feverish given Thursday's events but also gives West Ham a very good chance of reaching the top seven even with a game against Manchester City ahead. If they lose that they will have to beat Brighton on the final day while United lose to Crystal Palace. It's barely beyond reason. Chiquinho would certainly have to wait for his chance at Molineux. Before Saturday he had only played 47 minutes in the Premier League this season. It's hard enough for veteran players to fit into a new team in a new country when they hit mid-season; It is even more difficult for a young player who is leaving his home country for the first time. Not only has he assisted in both of Wolves' goals at Stamford Bridge, he's also the club's leading assist provider in the Premier League this season despite playing just 68 minutes. Expect more of the same next season.

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Arsenal's defining moment: The Gunners' Champions League fate is just 90 minutes away

Arsenal now know they can secure a top four finish and a return to the Champions League by winning Thursday's North London Derby at Tottenham (Author: Gardener)

The Gunners' Champions LeagueArsenal is a game away. Win at Tottenham on Thursday and it's done, they will be back in the Champions League for the first time since 2017. It looked like they missed their big chance when they suffered three straight defeats in April, but a fabulous run of four straight wins has revived a season that seemed on the brink of collapse. Mikel Arteta's side went into Sunday's game against Leeds knowing that a win would put them four points clear of Tottenham ahead of this week's crucial derby in north London. "I've seen games like this in this league," said Arteta after the win. “We really gave everything, forward without hesitation and showed quality. We scored two goals, they go to 10 men and then you have to play another game. "I think we did our thing right but we didn't score the third goal and that was the killer. Arsenal just managed to manage those nerves in some frantic final moments at the Emirates Stadium, but if you thought those were strained wait until Thursday's game comes around. However, given the start of the season, it's remarkable where Arteta's side are now in position. There was talk of a relegation battle as they started the season with three straight defeats and advanced into the Premier League's first international break without having scored a goal. But they have since won 21 of their 31 league games and are now just 90 minutes from doom. Champions League football is just a game away and the fact that they could do the job at Tottenham of all places will only add to the drama this week. Thursday night's derby is quite simply the biggest game Arsenal have played in years. "As always, we want to prepare and attack for this game," said Arteta. I can't wait to play this game.” No one will be more aware of what Champions League football will mean for Arsenal than Arteta. As a player he was a regular in Europe's elite club competition for the Gunners but those days feel like a distant memory in north London. Bringing Arsenal back to the top of European football as a manager will be a huge achievement for the Spaniard after such disappointing years for the club. Arteta has constantly told fans to "trust the process" since he replaced Unai Emery and that process would take a monumental shot in the arm should Champions League football return. It would put Arsenal in a much stronger position when it comes to fending off interest in star players with, for example, contract talks looming with Bukayo Saka this summer. It will be much easier to convince the England star that he could fulfill his ambitions at Arsenal should they be in the Champions League. The financial boost would also be huge, allowing the Gunners to be much more aggressive in the transfer market ahead of next season. "We don't have to explain the importance of the game," Arteta said, referring to Thursday night's clash at Tottenham. “We now have an opportunity to do it against them and all our spirit and energy will be on that. It's been done all season.” Arsenal have always enjoyed historic triumphs in the home country of their bitter rivals. They won the Premier League title at White Hart Lane in 1971 and repeated the trick in 2004 when Arsene Wenger's Invincibles sealed their historic Premier League crown. The title may not be at stake this time but it's impossible to downplay the importance of this young Arsenal side finally ending the club's five-year absence from the Champions League. Reclaiming a place in Europe's elite has sometimes felt like a million miles away in recent years, but now it's just 90 minutes.

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