Tottenham ‘still favourites’ for top four despite Arsenal stronghold and six-point gap

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Tottenham are “still favourites” for the top four despite the stronghold Arsenal have on the final position, according to Martin Keown.

The Gunners prevailed as 1-0 winners against Aston Villa in the solitary Premier League fixture on Saturday. That saw them draw six points ahead of seventh-placed Spurs, who host the team above them on goal difference, West Ham, on Sunday.

The north London rivals are on the same amount of games with Manchester United also sandwiched in-between them with an extra one played like the Hammers.

But Keown believes his former side are likely to miss out on Champions League football for next season.

“There’s a lot of games to go, and I still put Spurs as favourites to make it into the top four,” he told BT Sport.

“Arsenal are in the box seat I know, but when you look at the fixtures, games away at Chelsea, Spurs. It’s tough.

“It’s in Arsenal’s hand and if they keep performing as they are they’ll do it, but it’s a long way to go.”

Victory at Villa Park was the sixth time in the last seven matches that Mikel Arteta’s side have picked up maximum points.

Although doubtful about the rest of the season, the ex-Arsenal captain was full of praise for their current crop.

Arsenal are different – Keown

Keown added: “It’s been about Arsenal rebuilding their reputation because you do that over many years. If people know you’re a soft touch, they think at some point you’ll fall over.

“Now, people are getting a taste of Arsenal. They realise they’re stronger and completely different. They’re playing with this nice and constructive football, but they’re also resilient.

“Gabriel at the back was nice and strong with Ben White beside him. Partey in midfield never really ventured too far.

“So, it’s nice in those departments and all over the pitch you have people doing their jobs, who know their roles and responsibilities, with the ball and without, perfect.

“They get the job done and clear of him with three points in the bag.”

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Arteta confident for top four

Mikel Arteta celebrating for Arsenal

Also speaking post-match, Arteta revealed he does belief his side can make the top four.

“It’s a very big win for us,” he told BBC Sport. “I thought we played fantastically well, but we didn’t put the game to bed when we had the chances. Then you suffer, but we showed the resilience to win.

“Villa are a very good team and to come here is always extremely difficult. We managed to do the things we wanted to do in the match and I think we deserved to win the game.

“The connection between the players and the fans is exceptional and that gives you a lot of energy and belief.

“There’s still 10 games to go and you can see how small the margins are. The key is that we are there [in the top four] and that we believe we can do it.”

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