Stan Collymore has claimed that Arsenal do not have the bottle to maintain their hunt for a top-four Premier League finish.
The Gunners headed into the international break in the driving seat to claim the final Champions League qualification place for next season. While they had one of the worst starts to the season in the Premier League, they have recovered well.
In fact, they sit in fourth ahead of Tottenham in fifth and Manchester United in sixth. What’s more, Mikel Arteta’s team have a game in hand over their rivals.
Still, that match is against Spurs. Arsenal also have to play Man Utd and Chelsea, who sit in third.
The young attacking quartet of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard have chiefly fired Arsenal to a run of strong form.
Meanwhile, centre-back Ben White and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale have formed a strong partnership in defence.
According to Collymore, though, United and Tottenham have more experience in their ranks and will win the top-four race.
“I’m going for United or Spurs to pip them to the post, though, because I suspect Arsenal’s young team will choke on the final stretch,” the pundit told The Sunday People (27/03 page 54).
“If they prove me wrong, I will happily wear an Arsenal shirt with ‘Arteta 8’ on the back and post a picture of it on social media on the last day of the season.”
Arsenal headed into the international break following a narrow 1-0 win away at Aston Villa.
And despite their strong form, they have struggled against the other so-called ‘Big Six’ teams.
Liverpool have beaten Arsenal on three out of four occasions this season. United, meanwhile, won a 3-2 thriller in December.
However, the Gunners beat north London rivals Tottenham 3-1 in September.
Arsenal need to stay injury-free
Despite the criticism from Collymore of Arsenal’s younger team in comparison to their top-four rivals, they have arguably shown the most team spirit of any of the three teams.
Tottenham have proved inconsistent in recent weeks, while Man Utd are in limbo with their manager situation.
Still, Arsenal will need to keep their star attacking quartet fit to maintain their top-four hopes.
The games between the teams after the international break will prove crucial in defining the fate of the top-four race.