Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger maintains the gap between his side and the Barclays Premier League champions is "nothing" and can be bridged with hard work rather than just big-money signings.
The Gunners head to Sky Bet Championship-bound Norwich on Sunday looking to maintain momentum ahead of the FA Cup final against Hull at Wembley, when they will aim to end the club's long trophy drought.
Arsenal led the top flight for 128 days following a fine opening half to the campaign, only to then see their championship challenge fall away in the wake of heavy defeats at rivals Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea as the squad was depleted by injuries to key men.
Nevertheless, for all their shortcomings, Wenger's side could end the season just seven points behind champions-elect City - or even fewer should the most unpredictable of seasons take another dramatic twist on the final day.
It is a margin Wenger believes can be clawed back when the action kicks off again in August.
"You know, seven points is nothing. It is two games," said Wenger, who could have England midfielder Jack Wilshere back from a fractured foot.
Arsenal transfer talk: Potential summer targets
Arsenal transfer talk: Potential summer targets
1/14 Sami Khedira
The World Cup winner looks to be heading to the Emirates if the reports are to be believed, as the Real Madrid midfielder looks set for a £26m switch to the Gunners. Having turned down a new contract and just a year remaining on his current deal, Khedira could soon be Arsenal's latest big-name signing.
2/14 Douglas Costa
Costa is one of six Brazilian players refusing to return to Shaktar Donetsk due to the increasing political unrest in Ukraine. Arsene Wenger is reported to be interested in the 23-year-old, with the Gunners reported to be preparing a move for the attacking midfielder.
3/14 Morgan Schneiderlin
Schneiderlin is a transfer target for the Gunners' fierce rivals Tottenham, but Arsenal are reported to have held talks with the 25-year-old Frenchman over a move that would see him snub Spurs. The midfielder would fill the defensive role that Arsenal are currently lacking.
4/14 John Ruddy
The Norwich goalkeeper would be a shock signing for Arsenal, but rumours have linked the England stopper with a move. Arsenal do need another goalkeeper to replace Lukasz Fabianski, but it is worth noting that Ruddy was part of a side that were relegated last season and conceded the third highest number of goals. The arrival of David Ospina has made it even less likely.
5/14 Iker Casillas
Another goalkeeper linked with Arsenal this summer is Real Madrid stopper Casillas. He's not been the favourite at the Bernabeu for a couple of seasons now and his disastrous World Cup has led to speculation he could move on. Again, the arrival of Ospina makes Arsenal's need for him not so desperate, but Wenger may not want to pass up the chance to sign such an experienced keeper.
6/14 Michy Batshuayi
The Standard Liege star has already stated that he expects to leave at the end of the season, preferring to move to either England or Germany and recently admitting that Arsenal are his favourite team. The 20-year-old striker is the top scorer in the Belgian league this season. Batshuayi can also operate on the wing and has been linked with Everton and Napoli. Arsenal are said to be willing to pay his release clause, which is understood to be £6.5m.
7/14 Javi Martinez
Arsenal are believed to be one of a number of clubs looking at Bayern Munich defender/midfielder Martinez should he become available in the summer. He would not come cheaply though, given the Bavarian club activated his €40m release fee to sign him in 2012.
8/14 Julian Draxler
A move during the January transfer window failed to materialise over Draxler's £37m release clause with Arsenal unwilling to pay the hefty fee, according to Schalke's sporting director. The German international was also said to be a target for Bayern Munich in case Toni Kroos failed to sign a new deal with the Bundesliga champions. However, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has ruled out a summer move for the highly-rated 20-year-old. Arsenal will have to change their stance over the transfer fee to acquire the attacker with several big clubs interested.
With Bacary Sagna confirming he will leave at the end of the season, Arsenal look short in the right-back department. A reported £9m move for Atletico Madrid defender Juanfran was rejected, but the Gunners could return for his services should they up their bid.
10/14 Josip Drmic
Arsenal have been linked with the Nurnberg striker recently after Lothar Matthaus claimed on Sky Germany that the Gunners had already signed the 21-year-old. Wenger is said to be keen to bring in the Swiss striker before the World Cup this summer. Drmic is a wanted man after scoring 16 goals in the Bundesliga this season despite his club battling against relegation. Drmic, who has three-years left on his current deal, is reported to have a release clause of less than £5m. Only Bayern Munich star Mario Mandzukic, Borussia Dortmund's Robert Lewandowski and Hertha Berlin striker Adrian Ramos have scored more league goals than Drmic this season.
11/14 Sebastian Jung
Eintracht Frankfurt defender Jung has been monitored by Arsenal this season. The 23-year-old has been one of their best players this season as the Bundesliga side recovered from a bad start to move clear of the relegation battle once they were eliminated from the Europa League. The German could be available for a fee in the region of £2m but the Gunners may face competition from Wolfsburg.
12/14 Atsuto Uchida
Uchida will travel to Brazil for the World Cup as part of Japan's national team, but the Schalke defender could see himself become the subject of interest from Arsenal as they seek a replacement for Bacary Sagna.
13/14 Salomon Kalou
The former Chelsea forward, currently at Lille in France, is interested in a return to the Premier League. To the dismay of Arsenal fans the Ivory Coast international has been linked once again to a move to the Emirates. Kalou could be available for a fee in the region of £2.5m this summer despite still having two years remaining on his current deal at the Ligue 1 side.
14/14 Juan Quintero
Having impressed at the World Cup, Quintero could be on the move just 12 months after joining Porto. Arsenal have been linked with a £15.8m bid for the Colombia midfielder who impressed at the World Cup.
"But on the other hand, every team of the top four will be frustrated because you will think, 'Ah, we could have got this point and if we had done it, we would win the league'. If you look at Chelsea or Liverpool, they will say the same.
"We have to continue to develop as a team. We have bridged a big gap (from 2012/13) and we want to be better next season.
"How can we do that? We have hard work in the summer to achieve that."
Wenger added: "My team has shown a remarkable mental stamina and consistency in their attitude and I am very proud of the way they responded.
"We are looking at some aspects where we can improve internally and we will work very hard during the summer to do that."
City passed 100 Premier League goals when they eventually swept aside Aston Villa on Wednesday night to put themselves firmly on course for a second league title in three seasons.
Liverpool too will hit treble figures should their potent strike force get on the scoresheet again at Anfield against Newcastle this weekend.
Wenger concedes admiration for the way the top two have gone about their business, giving his own team food for thought.
"To be completely honest, a team like City scored 100 goals so you have to say their offensive potential has been absolutely brutal and fantastic, Liverpool as well," the Arsenal manager said.
"We have scored 66 at the moment, that is where we have room for improvement."
Arsenal head into the final match of the season spared from a battle to secure a top-four finish after pulling clear of Everton following Manchester City's timely win at Goodison Park.
Midfielder Aaron Ramsey hopes that will allow a sense of freedom at Carrow Road - where only a massive 18-goal swing over West Brom, who host Stoke and would have to lose - would save the Canaries from the drop.
"It was important because we want to be testing ourselves against the best teams in Europe in these fantastic stadiums, so to secure fourth was a relief and hopefully now we can go into the last game before the FA Cup final without any pressure," Ramsey said on Arsenal Player.
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