25 May 2022 | 08:33 | Football
Gary Neville has ruled on the race to reach the Premier League’s top four, saying Tottenham will be fourth after Arsenal and Manchester United’s recent struggles.
Tottenham made the most of losses at Arsenal and Manchester United in a 4-0 win over Aston Villa at the weekend. The result cemented Tottenham’s place in fourth, putting them three points ahead of Arsenal, who have one game to go with their north London rivals.
However, Arsenal’s form has fallen back since the international break, with back-to-back losses to Crystal Palace and Brighton, Neville said of Gary Neville Podcastcast doubt on the gunman’s ability to recover.
Spurs were firmly in the dominant position as Manchester United and West Ham struggled against Everton and Brentford respectively last weekend.
“I never really trusted Arsenal, I do worry about them,” Neville said.
“Arsenal are now three out of four defeats and I said a few weeks ago that I don’t fully trust them. The reason behind that is because they need to prove they can get through and they are the favourites in the top four.
“Those doubts are starting to surface.”
You grow more when you start playing well and other teams start dropping points. I think that’s what happened at Tottenham because I don’t think anything spectacular happened there.
He added: “I would have to say that Tottenham have gained some experience in the Champions League for four or five years, basically going through the woes of Arsenal and Manchester United.
“West Ham also lost this weekend [at Brentford] So in some ways it’s over, Tottenham. They might as well take a place in the Champions League. why not? We know they have a great top two and now it’s Kulusevski’s top three.
“We know that, but there’s still a lot to do. I think United are done. If I think the players have anything, they can still try because they still have to play against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, but I Think they are done. I think they may have been done a few weeks ago.
“I never thought they would be in such a bad position after the international break, so now it’s a question of whether Arsenal can recover, but I’m not sure. I think it’s Tottenham’s target now. “
Spurs manager Antonio Conte spoke after last weekend’s win at Aston Villa:
“It’s a great win for us. Especially when you’re playing a game after a Champions League seat opponent – Wolverhampton, Manchester United and Arsenal – has lost.
“In this moment you start to feel the blood. It’s important not to fail in this moment. We’ve done a lot of work mentally and the players make me happy.
“Of course I’m proud to see this progress. It makes me very satisfied. At the same time, I know we have to work hard to make this progress.
“Because there is not only the tactical, technical and physical aspects, but also the mentality. There is a lot of room for improvement. But today they showed me that they have improved in that area.”
While their opponents have faltered, the timing of Tottenham’s four-game winning streak in the Premier League is just right.
Antonio Conte’s side have won six of their last seven games, scoring 25 goals in the process to build up a three-point cushion for Arsenal.
But despite the numbers and their league standings, Neville says Tottenham’s recovery depends largely on the defeat of their opponents, as well as their own form.
“I don’t think they’ve been great over the last few months, but they’ve almost grown from what Arsenal and Manchester United are doing recently,” he said.
“You grow more when you start playing well and other teams start dropping points. I think that’s what happened with Tottenham because I don’t think anything spectacular happened there. In fact, just a few weeks ago Antonio Conte said he needed support in the summer to stay.
“The two players signed in January [Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski] Had a big impact, but even after that, Conte said, “Arsenal will be in the top four, or Manchester United will”. He was reportedly in need of £150m in the summer and needed support to stay, but suddenly things changed. “
In his latest column, Paul Merson reflects on why Arsenal can still push Tottenham to fourth, Manchester United’s problems, and makes his own verdict on the Premier League title race…
“I still think Arsenal have a chance. Arsenal have to go to Chelsea and Tottenham still have to face Liverpool and it’s going to be a different game. Chelsea beat Southampton last weekend and that’s in a way to consolidate their top four.
“I would say that Arsenal’s players have reached their ceiling. They are playing well, there is not much in the dressing room. They dropped that level against Brighton and they were beated.
“If you take out a couple of players who are very influential in this team, it’s not going well. The team is small and Mikel Arteta is picking the same players almost all the time, playing against In Brighton, they came up against a team with nothing to play for and who had the freedom to swing.
“I think it’s going to be a cunning game. Brighton don’t play well, but you think it’s going to be a good game of football. Arsenal can’t get their whole team out and it becomes a little bit difficult. Rantilney is a huge player and Thomas Partey has become increasingly influential.
“I still feel like Arsenal are in it because Tottenham still have Tottenham. I’m not saying it’s bad but they still have Tottenham. Everyone Angry for them but they could have been blown away in the first half against Aston Villa.
“Villa should have been out of sight, they just have to get through those days for the next seven weeks. The 4-0 win over Villa covered the cracks. They did some great things, don’t get me wrong I mean, but Hugo Lloris had to save again and again in the first half. So I still don’t believe in Tottenham.
“The top four is still important for Arsenal.”
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