May 11, 2017
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Arsenal round-up: Gunners close top four gap; Chamberlain fitness update; French winger targeted

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Arsenal have kept their slim hopes of top four alive with a 2-0 win over Southampton, thanks to second-half goals from Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud. It was a difficult match for them on Wednesday and they were in a game, as the home side played well, especially in the first half.

Petr Cech was called into action on a few occasions and the Gunners had to battle through to the break on level terms. They then stepped up a gear and clinched a vital three points, as they moved four points behind third-placed Liverpool with a game in hand.

They remain outsiders for the top four, but they have given themselves an excellent chance with back-to-back wins in the Premier League. The switch to a three-man defence has helped massively, as they are now playing with confidence and have the momentum heading into their final three matches of the season.

Although the top four still isn’t in their own hands, they will be hoping to do all they can and win the rest of their matches, putting the pressure on Liverpool and Manchester City above them. The former haven’t been convincing in recent weeks and Wenger will believe that his team have an excellent chance of catching them.

One blow for the club that emerged on Wednesday night was that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was forced off with an injury. The Sun report that he could be set to miss the FA Cup final after limping off against Southampton.

He only managed to play 35 minutes of the match before he was taken off with an injury and it was a massive disappointment, as he has been very impressive during recent weeks. It is believed to be a hamstring injury and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it did see him miss the match against Chelsea at the end of the month.

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The England international has been excellent in recent matches and has thrived since being moved to right wing-back. Although it isn’t a position that he wants to play in the long term, with him favouring a central role, he has done well there and helped the team transition quickly to a 3-4-2-1 formation. Hector Bellerin was impressive after coming on, but he doesn’t possess the same dynamism as Oxlade-Chamberlain. They would have a more difficult time against Chelsea without the 23-year-old.

Arsene Wenger is set for a huge summer of rebuilding as he attempts to make Arsenal a top force in England once again. The Mirror report that the club are eyeing a summer move for AS Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar. The Gunners boss is believed to be a huge fan of the player who has starred in Ligue 1 and the Champions League this season. The report states that he would cost upwards of £25 million, but as one of Wenger’s key targets, the club could be willing to pay what is required.

This would be an exciting signing for the Gunners and it isn’t a surprise link, as Wenger keeps a close eye on French football and the form of Monaco has been difficult to miss. Although Kylian Mbappe is the star, there are a number of excellent players in the squad including Lemar. The French international has contributed 11 goals and 11 assists across Ligue 1 and the Champions League, highlighting his ability as a player. He would add an exciting attacking option to the Arsenal squad and could be one of the players being targeted to replace Alexis Sanchez, who is likely to leave. At the age of 21, he has huge potential and it would be a great signing if the Gunners manage to pull it off.

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Arsenal · Transfer Round-up
Jake Jackman

Jake is a student based in the South East. He is a Newcastle fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.