Stan Collymore says his prediction that Arsenal would ‘choke’ in their push for the top four is coming true.
Arsenal were in control in the race for qualification via fourth spot, but successive losses to Crystal Palace and Brighton have halted their charge.
Mikel Arteta’s side are now trailing fourth-placed Tottenham by three points, although they have a game in hand over Spurs.
, and Wolves are chasing the north clubs in what is shaping up to be an exciting race for fourth spot.
Collymore was so confident Arsenal would miss out on the top four that he was if they made it.
After the defeats to ‘middle-of-the-road teams’ Palace and Brighton, the former Liverpool striker feels he is being proven right.
‘ fans, I told you,’ Collymore told the .
‘For your team to suffer back-to-back defeats not against the big boys but against with little to play for is proof it does not have the bottle for the run-in. Those losses to and Brighton were the definition of choking.
‘Both Palace and Brighton have pace and creativity, they’re fairly good at keeping the ball and playing through the lines. But that would not be a major cause of concern for a club who, if it gets to the run-in, is serious about challenging for the major spots or silverware. If you’re the real deal it’s a case of, ‘2-0, off you pop, on to the next one’.
‘A month or so ago, I said I’d wear an Arsenal shirt with ‘Arteta’ and ‘8’ on the back and post a picture of me doing so on Instagram if they qualified for the top four at the end of the season because I was so confident they wouldn’t. And that confidence hasn’t exactly looked misplaced after the last couple of games, has it?
‘The problem Arsenal have is that they have youngsters who will take two or three years to fully understand the ropes and the run-in is nothing like you can describe to anyone. It plays tricks with your mind.
‘You can sense the summer is coming, you’re ready to go on holiday and/or join up with your team-mates in the national team, and yet the games are coming thick and fast. You realise all of a sudden what the reality of the season is and where it can take you.
‘It can wobble you or inspire you, and if you’re a youngster who has played 90 per cent of the games, that 90 per cent does not prepare you for what the run-in does to you. So that could affect the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe, who shouldn’t be expected to be leading and carrying the team anyway.’
, ., and .