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Arsenal fixtures preview: Champions League football beckons amidst tough challenges in April and May

Arsenal returned to winning ways last weekend with a 1-0 Premier League win over Aston Villa. The victory has seen them extend their advantage for the final Champions League spot.

The Gunners were initially four points ahead of fifth-placed Manchester United, but that gap has been reduced to three with Tottenham Hotspur leapfrogging the Red Devils.

Spurs secured a 3-1 win over West Ham United on Sunday to put the pressure on the Gunners. The rescheduled north London derby could be a potential top-four decider.

For now, the Gunners have the edge with a three-point lead with a game in hand. Let’s have a look how they could fare in the remaining Arsenal fixtures following the international break.

Crystal Palace (away) – April 4

Right after the internationals, the Gunners make the short trip across London to face Crystal Palace. It will be a late Friday night kick-off and promises to be a tricky challenge for the Gunners.

The fixture has not been favourable to them. While they have not lost in the last five meetings, they have been four draws in the process. Earlier this season, the Gunners salvaged a point with the final kick.

Patrick Vieira’s side won’t make it easy for them, but the Gunners should fancy their prospects of another away win if they can make a quick start with the attacking intent displayed at Villa Park.

Arsenal to win 1-0

Brighton & Hove Albion (home) – April 9

Similar to Palace, Brighton have proved a bogey club for the Gunners in the past. However, their record has improved lately with two wins and one draw from the last three meetings.

It was an open contest at the Amex Stadium in the reverse fixture, but there were just four shots on targets combined. One of those fell to Emile Smith Rowe, who squandered a clear-cut chance.

Brighton have not had the same solidity at the back as the season has progressed. The Gunners can be backed for a routine win, particularly at the Emirates where their record has been exceptional.

Arsenal to win 2-0

Southampton (away) – April 16

The Saints were one of the best performing teams at the turn of the year, but their momentum has ceased over the past few games. They have lost their last three league matches.

Their defensive vulnerabilities have been visible once again. The Gunners have won their previous two meetings against the Saints, scoring three goals on each occasion.

The south coast outfit tend to play a high pressing game which went in the Gunners’ favour when they met at the Emirates last time around. It could be a similar scenario.

Arsenal to win 2-1

Chelsea (away) – April 20

The reverse meeting at the Emirates was completely one-sided. The Blues won 2-0 against a weakened Gunners outfit. Bernd Leno made multiple saves to keep the score down.

It should be a completely different contest this time at Stamford Bridge. The Gunners will go into the game with intent, but won’t want to come out of the game with nothing.

The Blues tend to struggle against a low-block. Gunners boss Mikel Arteta may look to keep things tight out of position. We fancy a share of the spoils in a must-watch game of football on tv.

Goalless draw at the Bridge

Manchester United (home) – April 23

Arsenal have had the edge over United in the league over the past few years. However, they were beaten 3-2 in the reverse meeting at Old Trafford. Cristiano Ronaldo bagged a brace.

A costly penalty conceded by Martin Odegaard made the difference. With the home advantage, the Gunners should start on the front foot, but an open game should also benefit the Red Devils.

Ronaldo has been a nemesis for the Gunners with eight goals from 16 meetings, and should pose a threat. It could be another high-scoring affair, but with both sides picking up a point.

An exciting 2-2 draw at the Emirates

West Ham United (away) – May 1

The Hammers have been right in the mix for the European places once again, but their form has been largely inconsistent since the turn of the year with more goals conceded.

The club have plenty of match-winners in their attack, but have been prone defensively. David Moyes has tended to work with a high line which makes them vulnerable to a counter-attack.

The Gunners easily saw off the Hammers challenge with a 2-0 win at home back in December. They should fancy another victory as their London rivals have tended to offer chances.

Arsenal to win 2-0

Leeds United (home) – May 7

This should be a straightforward win for the Gunners. Any other result would be a big blow to their top-four hopes. Leeds currently have the worst defensive record in the league.

They recently secured made it back-to-back wins under new manager Jesse Marsch, but there were all at sea against Wolves until Raul Jimenez’s sending off. They won 3-2 from two goals down.

Despite the change of manager, Leeds have stuck by their attacking principles without much defensive resolve. The Gunners sealed a 5-1 win at Elland Road, and should get the better of them again.

Arsenal to win 3-1

Newcastle United (away) – May 15

The Magpies have looked a different outfit since the New Year. They recently went on a stunning nine-match unbeaten run before suffering a late defeat to Chelsea on the road.

This has been followed by another late setback against Everton. With Premier League pretty much guaranteed, it won’t be a surprise if they go on another lean streak of results.

The Tyneside outfit may not have anything to play for when they meet the Gunners in mid-May. This should see hand the advantage for Mikel Arteta’s side for the contest.

Arsenal to win 1-0

Everton (home) – May 22

The Toffees have been in a poor run of form with just three wins from the last 21 league games. One of those came against Newcastle last weekend with Alex Iwobi’s dramatic 99th-minute winner.

It seemed that they may have turned the corner, only to lose 4-0 to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup quarter-final. The Gunners will be desperate to avenge their defeat earlier this campaign.

It was one of their worst performances of the season. They are on a three-match losing run against the Toffees, but should redeem themselves in what could be the top-four decider.

Arsenal to win 2-0

Tottenham Hotspur (away) – Date to be decided

Arsenal’s north London derby at Spurs could be sandwiched between the Newcastle and Everton games. It could probably be their toughest challenge from the remaining fixtures, and the most-streamed Arsenal game from the next two months.

The Gunners have won back-to-back home games against Spurs, but their derby record on the road is poor. They have picked up just two points from the last seven away trips to Spurs.

Harry Kane tends to bring the best out of him for the derby with 11 goals in 16 meetings. The Gunners seem likely to concede, and won’t be a surprise if Spurs get the better of them.

Tottenham Hotspur to win 2-1

From the above predictions, the Gunners stand to reach the 77-point mark for the campaign. In the Premier League era, only two clubs have finished in the top four with 77 or more points.

The Gunners have room for a couple of setbacks along the way with the current advantage in the top four race. They should be in the driving seat so long as they don’t go on an extended losing run.

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