Arsenal Still Very Hopeful Of Champions League Qualification Following Big Derby Win Over Tottenham

Arsenal Still Very Hopeful Of Champions League Qualification Following Big Derby Win Over Tottenham

Arsenal Still Very Hopeful Of Champions League Qualification Following Big Derby Win Over Tottenham

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Arsenal are still in the hunt for a top-four finish on the back of a massive, ego-boosting victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Head coach Mikel Arteta watched his side come back to claim a 2-1 victory over their North-London rivals, with goals from Martin Odegaard and Alexandre Lacazette completing the deal after they went down 1-0. 

A remarkable rabona strike from Erik Lamela put Spurs ahead with 33 minutes gone in the first half but the Argentinian would get his marching orders in the 76th minute after picking up a red card.

The hype over Lamela’s goal has yet to die down and it even left Gunners legend Freddie Ljungberg in awe. "The goal is insane,” he said to BBC Sports. “It's probably the best one I've ever seen, the technique, the power and keeping it down - he even gets a bit of curl on it to take it back in.”

As for Arsenal’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League, Arteta isn’t giving up and has vowed to fight as long as it’s mathematically possible.

"Up until mathematically it's impossible we're going to believe and we're going to give it a go that is for sure," the Spaniard said after the win.

"We know that we're going to have to be extremely consistent, to have any chance in the last two or three matches to be close to that.

"But we're going to give it a go and we're going to keep trying, going game-by-game."

The manager also praised his team’s reaction to going down a goal in the first half.

“Absolutely. I think we started the game really strongly, we were very dominant, we played in the opposition’s half, we regained the ball really quickly, created opportunities and chances. And then Lamela scored an incredible goal, which was a really incredible unique piece of talent,” he said.

“After that we have to react. Obviously mentally it’s not easy and when you’ve played two days ago it’s not easy. But I love the way the team reacted, with the courage that they continued to play, the belief that I was sensing from the touchlines. I'm glad with that.”

Arsenal are 10 points adrift of another London rival in Chelsea, who sit in fourth place on the Premier League table and look well on course to clinch a Champions League spot on the back of Thomas Tuchel replacing Frank Lampard.

The Blues are still in this year’s competition and hold a 1-0 advantage heading into their second leg Round of 16 clash with Atletico Madrid this week. Tuchel’s men are 6/5 for a win where Champions League odds are concerned.

The Gunners, on the other hand, have not been in the Champions League since the 2016/17 season and have been playing in the Europa League for four consecutive terms now.

“We know it is a club that is supposed to be in the Champions League,” midfielder Thomas Partey said via BT Sport last week.

“It is a bad situation that we are in now, but it depends on us. We are the ones playing, we have this opportunity, we have to try and make this season better.

“Before we can get to where we want, we have to try and be able to win all the games.”

The Europa League does provide Arsenal with an alternative route back to the Champions League, but they would have to win the competition.

There’s still West Ham, Liverpool and Chelsea to play in the remaining domestic games; making up those 10 points will be quite the task.

A 3-1 victory over Olympiacos leaves them with one foot in the Europa League’s quarter-final and prospects of making it to the competition’s finale appear to be very good.

The Emirates outfit are 2/5 to win the second leg of the tie against the Greek side and are 9/2 to win the tournament outright. Spurs are the current favourites at 7/2 while Manchester United have been given odds of 4/1 to lift the trophy.

“It is very important,” Partey added when asked about the possibility of winning the Europa League. “It (Champions League football) attracts a lot of good players, it shows your profile also to the world, what you can do outside of the league.

“And I think it is very important for the club, for the supporters, for all the people that are in the club - because this club belongs to the Champions League.

“We have to do our best, all that we can, to fight to get where we want.”

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