Bernd Leno believes Arsenal have enough games left in the season to secure a top four finish in the Premier League.
The German was on top form on Saturday as the Gunners secured a 1-0 win against West Ham to make it three consecutive victories in the league and 11 games unbeaten in domestic competitions.
While subsequent wins for Manchester United and Chelsea haven’t helped our cause, we’re still only eight points adrift of the fourth-placed Blues and with Uefa looking to ban Manchester City from Europe next season, there’s also the possibility that finishing fifth could see us sneak back into the Champions League.
While our recent exit from the Europa League remains raw, Leno maintains that there’s a lot to play for in the final months of the campaign.
“At the moment we look always to the next game,” he told the Evening Standard.
“There is too much time in football, you have to always focus on the next game. That is always the most important thing.
“Now we focus on Wednesday against Man City and not what is in May at the end of the season. We have to focus on every game and it will be in our hands.
“I think it’s all about us, if it will be realistic or not. There is still a gap, but I think we have nine or 10 games left so we have enough opportunities to reduce this gap and go to the Champions League places.
“Or maybe fifth is enough? I don’t know, it depends on Man City. But yes, I think it’s all in our hands.”
Arsenal travel to the Etihad on Wednesday in a hastily rearranged game that looks to be the biggest test yet for new boss Mikel Arteta.
Leno thinks we need to leave Manchester with at least a point and believes the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, when we defended with our backs to the wall before nicking a point with ten men, could be a blueprint to follow.
“I think against Manchester City, maybe they will have more possession so it will be a completely different game [to Saturday’s win over West Ham],” said Leno.
“Maybe we are defending deeper, I don’t know. It depends on the game, it depends on the tactics.
“I think you can see that against Chelsea, they had a lot of possession and were always playing around the box and at the end, we got a 2-2 draw with one less player. Maybe these kinds of games suit us.
“I think we have to respect this team, they have a lot of quality that’s clear, but we also want to go back to London with at least one point.
“Our job now is to reduce the gap to the Champions League. It’s eight [points] to Chelsea, it’s now our job to reduce that gap.
“But it depends on us. The other teams maybe will lose some points and we have everything in our hands. It depends only on us.”