Gary Neville has pinpointed where Arsenal went wrong in their Premier League title race this season.
The Gunners were not expected to make a run at the title this season, but for most of the season, they had top spot in their grasp. Mikel Arteta’s men were dominant for the first half of the season and then some, but a wobble in the final third saw a rampant Manchester City overtake them and secure top prize for the third straight season.
Concerningly for Arsenal, the late wobble adds to a trend set last season, when the Gunners looked as though they would secure a top four finish only to hand it over to Tottenham on the final day.
That emerging trend is something Neville has addressed on Sky Sports’ latest Monday Night Football, saying: “No one would have imagine, and not even me - who thought City would win the league - that in these games here, Arsenal would have dropped these points (against West Ham. Brighton, Forest and Southampton). Yeah, there are difficult games, against Newcastle, Man City and so on, but if Arsenal had picked up their neccessary points that they would have done in the first half of the season, they would still be level with City now, or even a point or two in front.
“When you look at the context of how poor a run it has been for Arsenal, we know last season they had top four within their grasp and they went on a bad run towards the end of the season. This shows that Arsenal have got the lowest number of points of any team in Premier League history in the last 10 games from teams who have finished in the top three.
“So, it just tells you what Mikel Arteta is going to have to do. It’s a mentality thing, it’s an experience thing. In the last two seasons, in the real difficult moments - and this is a team that none of us had in the top four, but they were in a title-winning position - have just not been able to handle the last 10 games in both season. If they had done the last 10 games right in both seasons, they would have been in the Champions League this season, and they could potentially be champions this time.”