Arsenal legends tip Gunners for decade-high league finish

Arsene Wenger is guiding his Arsenal side to one of their best seasons under his management.

Former Arsenal stars Paul Merson and Charlie Nicholas, as well as ex-Liverpool man Phil Thompson, have said they think Arsene Wenger's side are on course for their strongest league finish in ten years.

The three pundits told Sky Sports their predictions for the coveted Premier League top four, and the Champions League places that come with it, and they all plumped for Arsenal in the runners-up spot behind Chelsea, even before the North Londoners beat Burnley 1-0 to secure their eighth successive victory.

Much of it has owed to Manchester City's dismal recent performances, but both the Gunners and Manchester United have taken advantage of the Champions' faltering results, and put together outstanding runs to all but ensure Champions League qualification next season.

It left pundit Paul Merson more than a little surprised.

“If you’d have said to me six weeks ago that Manchester United were favourites to beat Manchester City to go four points clear of them, I’d have laughed at you," he said. "The league title is done, Arsenal will finish second I think, then it’s Man Utd and Man City for me."

Fellow Gunners favourite Charlie Nicholas agreed with Merson, while Liverpool legend Thompson said he thought the standings would remain as they are now, saying: "I’d have to say, on current form, it’s likely to be Arsenal, Manchester United and Manchester City behind Chelsea.”

It is some turn around for Arsene Wenger's side, who have been in superb form since the turn of the year, including their current eight-match winning run, to go from Champions League hopefuls to likely runners-up.

Arsenal haven't finished as high as second in the Premier League since 2004-05, meaning it will be exactly 10 years since Arsene Wenger has had a team so close to being league champions.

That Gunners side was largely made up of a side that famously went unbeaten the season before,  and though Wenger's team has been largely out of the title picture this year, they somehow find themselves in the mix with little over a month to go and a game against Chelsea still to come.

Despite the prospect of winning the league being unlikely, with Jose Mourinho's frontrunners grinding out the results to keep them beyond the range of the chasing pack, Arsenal should be delighted with how their season is panning out. After one sole trophy win in nine years, the Gunners won the Charity Shield this season, and are favourites for making the FA Cup final to defend the trophy they won last year, after being drawn against Championship side Reading in the semi-finals.

With a second place finish, and an FA Cup win to go alongside their Charity Shield, Arsenal will equal their performance and trophy haul in 2004-05.

And who know, maybe next year they'll fancy another crack at invincibility.

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