Unai Emery urged Arsenal to take the chance to chase down Tottenham in the north London derby on Saturday after sweeping aside Bournemouth 5-1 on Wednesday to close to within four points of Spurs.
Mesut Ozil made the most of being handed a rare start by Emery as the German and Henrikh Mkhitaryan masterminded an excellent performance from the Gunners to remain a point clear of Manchester United in fourth.
Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Tottenham at Stamford Bridge means the gap between third and sixth is now down to seven points in the battle for two Champions League places next season.
Emery now has a welcome selection headache for the visit to Wembley as Ozil and Mkhitaryan starred on their first start together in the league since November.
Emery has been reluctant to use Arsenal’s highest earner in his debut season in charge as Ozil was making just his second league start of the year.
Yet, the former Real Madrid midfielder showed why Arsenal handed him a contract worth a reported £350,000 a week last January by rolling back the years in a freer role alongside Mkhitaryan.
Arsenal were helped along the way by some feeble Bournemouth defending as the Cherries succumbed to a 10 consecutive away defeat.