Belfast Telegraph

Sokratis not ready to write off top-four bid

The Gunners round off their campaign with games against Leicester, Brighton and Burnley.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos believes Arsenal can still finish in the top four (John Walton/PA)
Sokratis Papastathopoulos believes Arsenal can still finish in the top four (John Walton/PA)

Sokratis Papastathopoulos accepts Arsenal must win their remaining three Premier League matches to give themselves a chance of finishing in the top four – but he believes they can do it.

The Gunners’ hopes of qualifying for the Champions League are out of their own hands after Wednesday’s 3-1 defeat to Wolves left them a point behind rivals Chelsea.

Arsenal have away games at Leicester and Burnley left to play, either side of facing Brighton at the Emirates Stadium.

Sokratis, who scored in the loss at Molineux, thinks taking the maximum nine points from those fixtures is within the Gunners’ capabilities.

“We have to look at the next three games where we need to win all three to get nine points,” he told the club’s official website.

“We’ll see if we can be in the top four. I trust my team 100 per cent, all of the players. I think we can do it.

“We know that we didn’t play well but we now have three chances and we have to win all the games.

“Of course (we get angry). The players want to play in the Champions League, we like winning and we want to be there. It’s not easy.

“We look towards the next game (at Leicester). It’s a difficult game. We know that now the chance could go, so we have to take the three points in all three games. I hope that we win on Sunday.”

Wolves’ win enhanced their own chances of securing European football for next season as they moved back into seventh place in the table – which will be enough for a Europa League spot should Manchester City win next month’s FA Cup final against Watford.

Matt Doherty, who scored Wanderers’ second goal against Arsenal, told the club’s official website: “We’re seventh again, and that’s where we want to finish.

“That might give us a chance of playing European football and we want to challenge ourselves, so playing in Europe is the next step.”

Arsenal became the latest of the Premier League’s top-six clubs to taste defeat at Molineux, where Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United have also been beaten this season.

Doherty said: “We’ve had a great season. Maybe our performances against the top six might lead some people to believe that we’ve over-achieved, but personally I don’t believe that we have.

“We just need to make sure we finish the season off strongly now.”

PA

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