Stan Collymore on Arsenal’s back-to-back defeats in the Premier League
Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore has reminded Arsenal fans of his prediction that the Gunners won’t make it to the Premier League Top 4. He stated that the north London club’s recent results were a “definition of choking.”
Mikel Arteta’s men have suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League against Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion. This puts them in fifth spot in the table, three points off fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, albeit with a game in hand.
With games against Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham United yet to come, the fourth spot seems to be slipping away from them.
Collymore had previously commented on the Top 4 race when Arsenal were in control. He had confidently stated back then that they would not make it to the Champions League spot.
Speaking now after the Gunners’ two defeats, Collymore told the Mirror:
“Arsenal fans, I told you. For your team to suffer back-to-back defeats not against the big boys but against middle-of-the-road teams with little to play for is proof it does not have the bottle for the run-in. Those losses to Crystal Palace 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’.”
He mentioned his previous comments on the Top 4 race, saying:
“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?”
Stan Collymore believes Arsenal’s youngsters will take time to “fully understand” the “reality of the season”
Arsenal have the youngest squad in the Premier League this season with their average age being around 25 years. While that has resulted in bright and attacking football, they do lack experience at the top level in under-pressure situations.
Highlighting this, Collymore said:
“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.”
Collymore concluded by saying that the fixture run-in at this stage of the season can rattle the youngsters at the club. He said:
“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.”
Arsenal next take on Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium in the Premier League on Saturday, 16 April.