Theo Walcott has urged Arsenal to seal their place in next season’s Champions League group stage by keeping Sunderland mired in the relegation dog-fight today. Arsene Wenger’s side will be certain of securing a top-three finish in the Premier League if they defeat the Black Cats at the Emirates Stadium.
Even a draw is likely to be enough to guarantee they finish above fourth placed Manchester United, who remain two points behind the Gunners with a significantly inferior goal difference and only one game remaining.
The reward for finishing in the top three is automatic entry into the group stages of the Champions League, which avoids the inconvenience of having to take part in a two-legged play-off tie to qualify for the competition early next season.
Wenger admits he has found that experience a major headache in the past, but Arsenal winger Walcott, who set up his side’s equaliser in their 1-1 draw against United at Old Trafford on Sunday, is confident his manager won’t have any need to reach for the pain-killers.