Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is convinced that his side have rediscovered the impetus needed to squeeze into the top four and gatecrash next season’s Champions League as they prepare for Tuesday's showdown with Sunderland.
The Gunners fell eight points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City following a 3-0 hammering by Crystal Palace last month, which was their seventh defeat in 12 matches across all competitions.
But a run of five victories in six Premier League fixtures has boosted the north Londoners’ hopes of making a late dash for Champions League qualification, a feat achieved by Wenger in each of his previous 19 seasons at the club.
Arsenal currently sit fifth, three points adrift of Manchester City in fourth and four behind third-placed Liverpool, although retain a game in hand on the Reds.
“I’m positive because it looks like we’ve got stronger in every single game,” said Wenger. “Against us, the other teams fight and we have to dig deep every time to win the games.
“We’ve won six out of our last seven games and we have created the momentum again after having a period where we were not stable away from home. We look strong again now, so it’s positive.”
Two wins from their remaining league games would give Arsenal 75 points – they won the league in 1998 with 78 – while there is still the possibility of silverware in the form of the FA Cup. The Gunners face Chelsea in the final at Wembley on 27 May.
“The season has not gone as well as I hoped at the start because I started to win the Premier League and when you don’t do it, you’re never completely satisfied,” added Wenger. “But as well, it’s not disastrous.”