Can Arsenal make the top four? Arsene Wenger has done it before
By Adam Bate
Last Updated: 11/05/17 1:26pm
Arsenal's top-four chances are still alive after their win at Southampton so could the Gunners pull off another great escape to continue their 20-year sequence of qualifying for the Champions League?
They have overcome the odds before in the race for the top four, clawing their way up the table time and time again over the years.
Here, we pick out five examples of Arsenal escapology that have kept the top-four run going so far…
2005/06 - Saved by the lasagne
A 1-0 defeat to Blackburn in late February meant that the Gunners started March 2006 in sixth spot and up against it in the race for a top-four finish. A run of four straight wins improved things but a draw at relegation-threatened Portsmouth still left Wenger's side in fifth with five games to play - four points behind Tottenham.
Arsenal went on to draw what might have been seen as the decisive game against Spurs, the final match played at Highbury, but managed to win the other four. It was enough to claim the final Champions League place with Tottenham's bid scuppered by food poisoning caused by a dodgy lasagne and defeat to West Ham on the final day.
2008/09 - Winning run as Villa fade
The Gunners endured a particularly uninspired run of results in early 2009 with the fans booing the team after a run of four consecutive goalless draws - three of them coming at the Emirates Stadium against Sunderland, West Ham and Fulham. That sequence saw them go into March in fifth place in the Premier League.
Arsenal see off Saints
Goals from Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud kept Arsenal's top-four hopes alive as they beat Southampton 2-0 at St Mary's.
In fact, they were five points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa having played a game more than Martin O'Neill's side. However, Villa's dramatic late-season collapse coupled with a run of five consecutive victories for Arsenal saw Arsenal turn it all around to secure Champions League football once more.
2011/12 - Battling back from seventh
Arsenal were in trouble again in 2012. The clues had been there early in the campaign when Manchester United thrashed them 8-2 at Old Trafford in August. Wenger made some last-gasp signings but three defeats in a row followed by a goalless draw at Bolton still left them as low as seventh in February.
"Every game in the championship is a cup final now," said Wenger, but his team were out of form and hope was fading. They responded with a 7-1 win over Blackburn - the first of seven victories on the bounce to overhaul the likes of Newcastle and claw their way into the Champions League places yet again.
2012/13 - Brilliant finish to pip Spurs
Arsenal were off the pace again in 2013 with back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea leaving any ambitions of the title long gone and their top-four hopes at risk too. By March, after being beaten by Tottenham 2-1 at White Hart Lane, they were languishing in fifth spot and heading for the Europa League.
At that stage they were seven points behind their north London rivals but the Gunners found their best form at just the right time as they won eight of their last 10 games, drawing the other two, in a brilliant finish to the campaign. It was enough to pip Andre Villas-Boas' Spurs side to fourth by a single point.
2013/14 - Strong finish sees off Everton
Everton threatened to oust Arsenal from the top four in April 2014 when they overwhelmed the Gunners in a 3-0 win at Goodison Park thanks to goals from Steven Naismith, Romelu Lukaku and a Mikel Arteta own goal. The result took the Toffees to within a point of Arsenal and they also had a game in hand with only six left to play.
Roberto Martinez's side might have been further encouraged by the fact that Arsenal were on a horrible run of form having gone four games without a win dating back to a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Chelsea. But Arsenal kicked into gear by winning their final five games to grab fourth spot yet again. Is another great escape on the way?