Neville makes top four prediction – Arsenal have it in them to ‘crumble’ under the ‘pressure’

Gary Neville before Soccer Aid Credit: Alamy
Gary Neville before Soccer Aid Credit: Alamy

Gary Neville has backed Arsenal to finish in the top four, but will not be surprised if they “crumble at the end of the season”.

The Gunners are currently top of the Premier League having won 11 of their opening 13 fixtures.

They picked up a statement victory away to Chelsea on Sunday afternoon, leapfrogging champions Manchester City to return to the summit.

11 points separate them and fifth-place Manchester United, while they are eight ahead of arch-rivals Tottenham with a game in hand.

After throwing away the chance to finish fourth last term, many now see Arsenal as genuine title contenders to Manchester City.

Liverpool have started the season very slowly, while Erik ten Hag and Graham Potter have not been in charge of Manchester United and Chelsea, respectively, for too long.

Tottenham, will be up there at the end of the season, but their style of play and consistency leaves a lot to be desired.

As a result, Arsenal are pretty much nailed on to finish inside those elusive Champions League places.

Manchester United legend Gary Neville previously insisted that Mikel Arteta’s side could still finish outside the top four, but has now said he does see them finishing fourth at worst.

Speaking in October, he said: “I don’t think Liverpool will finish in the top four, and Arsenal could still finish outside the top four as well – but I’ll put [them] in for now just to keep all the Arsenal fans happy!

“I look at Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool – it’s still a big job for Arsenal [to finish in the top four].”

And now Neville has changed his tune, but has said the schedule in February and March will show everyone “what Arsenal are made of”.

The former England defender insists that Arsenal have shown over the years that they often “crumble at the end of the season”, which is influencing his hesitation over their title, and top four, chances.

“Last season we had our reservations about Mikel Arteta, but we wanted to be proved wrong because I like the manager and his style of football,” Neville said on The Overlap.

“We have 25 matches left in the season, with the massive disruption of the World Cup, but I do see Arsenal getting in the top four this season.

“If Arsenal lose a couple games and the teams below you win those games, the pressure now ramps up and that is when we’ll find out if Arsenal can handle the pressure.

“The big moment will come in February and March where we will see what Arsenal are made of.

“The only thing Arsenal have proven in the last few years is that they crumble at the end of the season, until I see that they don’t, I’ll still have that doubt.

“Why would I not?”

Arsenal host Brighton in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening before rounding off their pre-World Cup schedule away to struggling Wolves in the Premier League.

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