Form against bottom half to cost Arsenal top-four spot

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Arsenal only have themselves to blame of they fail to finish in the top four this season and it is 7/1 that they find themselves in fifth spot in the Premier League standings going to the final day of the campaign.

Heading into this weekend, Arsenal’s aspirations were in their own hands, as two victories would have guaranteed them third spot in the final table.

However, there is now a very realistic chance that they will not even finish in the top four after their 3-3 draw at home to Norwich.

Arsene Wenger may have been quick to criticise the lack of referee assistance that Arsenal have had at the Emirates, with the Gunners failing to receive a single penalty at home all season.

Although this could be damaging, a team of Arsenal’s quality should not require penalties to beat opposition concerned with surviving relegation.

If Arsenal do finish fifth, it will be their form against the clubs in the bottom half of the table that will be largely to blame.

Wenger has watched his side take 27 points against the other nine clubs in the top half, with only title challengers Manchester City and Manchester United accumulating more.

But against those at the other end, Arsenal sit sixth, collecting less points than Newcastle and Chelsea and the same as Tottenham.

The incentive is now even stronger for Tottenham and Newcastle to win this weekend, as victories would see them both move into the top four.

Tottenham head to Aston Villa unbeaten against the opposition in six meetings, while Newcastle may be hosting Manchester City, but a repeat of the performance that saw them beat Chelsea would give them a big chance.

Newcastle currently sit fifth and have the harder game on paper, so it is no surprise that it is 1/4 that Arsenal and Tottenham occupy positions in the top four at the end of this round of fixtures.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.