Arsenal legend Robert Pires has backed Mikel Arteta’s side to finish in the top four this season, amid a recent upturn in form.
The Gunners are currently in ninth and seven points behind champions Liverpool in fourth, yet an excellent run of recent form has breathed new life into their season.
Arteta’s men have one five of their last six Premier League games, with their most recent win coming away against Southampton, a result that saw youngster Bukayo Saka once again steal the show with a superb performance.
Such vibrant displays from the Gunners are in stark contrast to earlier this season, in which they endured a run of seven league games without a win that left them as low as 15th in the table.
Despite increasing pressure on the Spaniard, the North London club continued back their manager and are now reaping the rewards of sticking by the 38-year-old, with them now looking a much more exciting and dangerous outfit.
According to Pires – who won two Premier League titles in his time at the club – Arteta’s side can still end the season in a Champions League spot, even though he admits they are currently in a ‘transition’ period under the former Manchester City assistant.
‘Mikel is young and needs time to implement his ideas but I believe that once he has built his team, Arsenal will be competitive and ready to go toe-to-toe with the great English clubs,’ Pires told the Sun.
‘It’s hard but I would not even rule out that they finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League this year because things change quickly in the league.
‘If I see Liverpool having tough periods, I’m telling myself there is an opportunity for Arsenal to grab. They only need to get back to winning ways and then maintain the consistency. Then anything can happen.
‘It’s imperative the supporters stay patient because Arsenal are in transition but the club’s future under Arteta looks bright.’