May 12, 2017

Arsenal round-up: Shkodran Mustafi admits regret; play-off could decide Champions League; Galatasaray chase Danny Welbeck

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Arsenal have given themselves a great chance of a top-four finish after a run of good results since their change to a 3-4-2-1 formation. However, Shkodran Mustafi has admitted that the team may have left it too late to qualify for the Champions League. The Gunners have won four of their last five and climbed to fifth in the table, but their implosion in February and March may have left them with too much to do. He told the Mirror the following when asked about their form:

“Well, I wish we found that before. But now we have three games and we have to give everything, like we did [against Southampton], to try and get everything out of all the games.”

It will be frustrating for all those involved with the club that they have left it this late to find their form. They were awful in the weeks following their Champions League exit, but the players deserve credit for the way they have turned it around. The atmosphere around the club has been awful and it hasn’t been easy to play in. However, the players have remained focused and they have now given themselves a chance of finishing in the top four.

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The Independent report that as a result of their win over Southampton, Arsenal have opened the possibility of a 39th game for the fourth Champions League place against Liverpool. This would take place if the teams finish equal on points, goal difference and goals scored. It remains unlikely, but it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility as the Gunners are only trailing the Reds by three goals. This would be the first time that such a game has had to be played and it would provide a great spectacle at the end of the season.

In their remaining matches, Arsenal need to score some goals and take at least seven points to make set up such an occasion, while Liverpool need to lose one of their final two matches. It remains an unlikely scenario, but a 39th match will be required at some stage and it could be this season. The Gunners will be hoping to finish the season in the top four as their record against the top six hasn’t been great. They wouldn’t go into a play-off as favourites after losing to Jurgen Klopp’s side twice this season.

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There is a huge summer ahead for Arsenal as their squad desperately needs to be rebuilt. The Mail report that Danny Welbeck could be one of those on the move as Galatasaray weigh up a £16 million bid for the striker. The Turkish club have sounded out whether the England international would be interested in a move abroad and they are willing to pay the asking price. However, they are unlikely to land the striker. Although he is going to weigh up his options in the summer, a move to Turkey doesn’t appeal to him.

This is an interesting transfer rumour as few English players go abroad, especially to play in Turkey. Galatasaray remain a huge club and their interest underlines how highly the striker is thought of on the continent. That said, he has been impressive in recent weeks and shown that he still has a part to play at the Emirates Stadium. Regardless of what happens with the future of Arsene Wenger, Welbeck should be retained by the club as he is a useful backup option to have.

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Featured image: All rights reserved by Stuart MacFarlane

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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.

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