Gilberto: Anfield tie is crucial

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Arsenal's visit to Liverpool on 31st March will be decisive in determining who finishes third, according to Gunners vice-captain Gilberto.

With Chelsea and Manchester United virtually out of sight, the other members of the Premiership's 'big four' look to be heading for a straight battle in order to finish as second runners-up.

Arsenal currently hold a slender one-point advantage - with a game in hand - but their recent form has been poor and their next game comes at Anfield.

A fourth win over Liverpool this season would give The Gunners a formidable lead over their Merseyside opponents, but Gilberto believes a win for Rafa Benitez's side would be equally as crucial.

"The next game now is the most important. At Liverpool the outcome will be decisive over who finishes third," said Gilberto.

"We know that at Liverpool it is always hard, and we need to keep our shape as a side and we cannot afford to lose our concentration like we have done in a few important games recently."

Arsenal have seen their season fall apart in the past few weeks - having exited all three cup competitions - and Gilberto is hoping the upcoming international break will give the Londoners the opportunity to reflect and rebuild.

"I hope that after this break, everybody will be very focused on our run-in to the Champions League next season. All we can do in every game is our best.

"We need to come back stronger from the international break. I will be with Brazil playing in Sweden, but that will have to be put to the back of our minds on our return.

"Sometimes when you have a bad result it helps to play again straight away, other times you need a break.

"But I hope this time the break will help us because these last few days and weeks have been very hard and very painful for us."