London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - It seems to be a familiar story every year, but Arsenal's crash out of European football will allow the club to turn its attention to other pursuits.
The Gunners were bounced from the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Tuesday for a second straight season, but it could prove to be a blessing in disguise as they now can focus on ending an eight-year silverware drought by finishing strong in Premier League and FA Cup action.
"The result wasn't great for us to go through but you always need to take the positives out of it," captain Thomas Vermaelen told the club's official website of Tuesday's 1-1 draw. "We worked hard and at the end of the day that is what you need to get results.
"We are still up there in the Premier League and we are in the semifinals of the FA Cup so there is a lot to play for."
While Arsenal remains the favorite to claim the FA Cup, its next test comes Sunday when it heads to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham in the latest installment of the north London derby.
Arsenal enters the weekend level with Liverpool for second place on 59 points apiece while Tottenham's 53 points puts the club in fifth place.
The Gunners have seen their title bid come off the boil in recent weeks as they have taken just four points from their last four league matches.
Tottenham, meanwhile, also has struggled of late, losing two of its last three Premier League outings. It most recently was humiliated in a 4-0 loss to Chelsea in which a comedy of defensive errors saw Spurs finish with 10 men while conceding all four goals in the second period.
Tim Sherwood's side appears to be slipping out of the race for a Champions League qualification spot, but that makes Tottenham the odds-on favorite to secure a place in the Europa League next term.
Liverpool, once in contention for a top-four finish, has seen its sublime run of form result in the club entering the title chase. The Reds have won their last four Premier League contests and will look to continue their dominant play on Sunday when it heads to Old Trafford for an always intense meeting with Manchester United.
Manchester City seems to have slipped out of the title race, but a closer look at the table reveals that the fourth-place Citizens have three games in hand compared to first-place Chelsea. Should Manuel Pellegrini's side take maximum points from those fixtures, City would move level with the Blues for top spot.
City's bid for a domestic treble was ruled out last weekend when it suffered a disappointing defeat to Wigan in the FA Cup. The Citizens will now look to get their Premier League title pursuit back on track starting with Saturday's visit to Hull City.
Chelsea, meanwhile, hopes to maintain its blistering pace atop the English first division by taking three points from its trip to Aston Villa on Saturday.
Also on Saturday, an Alan Pardew-less Newcastle side will head to Craven Cottage to face a Fulham side desperate to get out of the relegation zone, Everton will attempt to get back into the battle for a Europa League spot when it welcomes Cardiff City to Goodison Park, Southampton will go to a second straight league win when it welcomes Norwich City to St. Mary's, West Bromwich Albion will try to pull further away from the drop zone when it heads to Swansea City, second-from-bottom Sunderland hosts Crystal Palace at the Stadium of Light and Stoke City does battle with West Ham United at the Britannia.