Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen has said that his club are the favourites now to finish in the top three this season. Vermaelen was speaking on the occasion when Arsenal had just overtaken Tottenham in the Premier league table following the midweek round of fixtures. Tottenham could only draw against Stoke city, while Arsenal managed a 1-0 win over Everton away from home. Further, Tottenham will be having a tough round of fixtures in the remaining matches like Arsenal, who have an easier run-in. These are the reasons for Vermaelen to believe that Arsenal are now the favourite for the top three.
Vermaelen has said that one of the major changes in the race for the top three positions came when Arsenal faced Tottenham in the North London Derby a few weeks ago. Tottenham could have gone 13 points clear of Arsenal if they had won the match, but they lost the match 5-2 after a quite impressive second half comeback from Arsenal. Since then, Tottenham have been on the decline, while it has been the opposite with Arsenal. Arsenal have since managed to close a 10 point advantage and secure a one-point advantage over Tottenham. Vermaelen was a key figure in Arsenal doing so because his injury time header gave the club all three points against Newcastle recently.
“We are always confident [of staying third], especially if we keep winning games as we are. Yes [Arsenal are favourites to finish third], we just have to keep the focus on our own performance. At the moment we have had some good results against some difficult teams. We have shown good mentality,” Vermaelen said after the 2-1 win over Newcastle. Finishing above Tottenham extremely important for Arsenal given that they have not allowed their neighbours to finish above them since 1995.