11 May Arsenal hopeful
Shkodran Mustafi is hopeful that Arsenal have recovered from their blip in time to surge into the Champions League.
The Gunners picked up a vital 2-0 win at Southampton on Wednesday night to move up to fifth in the Premier League table and three points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City.
Manager Arsene Wenger remains under pressure over his future as he looks to mastermind a late push to secure a 20th consecutive season of Champions League football.
The Frenchman has never finished outside the Premier League’s top four in a full season at the helm and is optimistic they can gatecrash the Champions League places this time around, despite a terrible run of form which saw Arsenal lose six of 11 league games.
Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud struck in the second half of a largely forgettable contest on the south coast as Arsenal recorded their first win at St Mary’s since 2003.
Mustafi, who returned to the side following a recent lay-off with a thigh injury, enjoyed one of his best games since joining the club in the summer but admits it may be too little, too late.
Asked about Arsenal finding their form at the right time, the Germany international replied: “Well I wish we found that before.
“But now we have three games and we have to give everything, like we did today, to try and get everything out of all the games. Hopefully at the end we’ll reach our goals.
“It was an important game and it was a tough game as well. We knew that coming here is not easy to play, it’s a good team, a team that like to play. I think we did well being patient in the first half.
“We had opportunities, they had one or two as well, so it was an open game but then in the second half we managed to come out and just keep playing our game, waiting and being patient until the opportunity came. We had a few opportunities and luckily we scored two.”
Goalkeeper Petr Cech skippered the side on the south coast as Mustafi came in for the injured Laurent Koscielny.
The former Chelsea man was at his best to keep out a Nathan Redmond drive in the first half and knows a top-four finish is still a challenge.
“Recently we shot ourselves in the foot against Tottenham, because we did not get any points and obviously we left ourselves in the situation where we have to keep winning every game,” said Cech.
“We are aware of the fact that we probably need to win all of our remaining games to be sure that we will be in the race until the last minute.”