Nigel Winterburn predicts where Arsenal are going to finish
Nigel Winterburn has his say on how Arsenal's top-four hopes are shaping up this season
Nigel Winterburn is tipping Arsenal to just miss out on a top-four finish this season in the Premier League.
The Gunners have been gaining some momentum in the top flight in recent weeks after a difficult start to the campaign under Mikel Arteta in which they lost their opening three games.
The north Londoners have not lost in the Premier League since the 5-0 defeat by Manchester City back at the end of August and they have won their last three games on the spin to move up into fifth place in the table.
Arsenal are now just two points behind fourth-placed Liverpool FC as they prepare to take on the Merseyside outfit in Saturday’s showdown at Anfield.
Former Arsenal defender Winterburn has been impressed by what he has seen from Arteta’s side in recent weeks, but he still suspects that they will end up just missing out on a place in the Champions League for next season.
Speaking in an interview with Metro, Winterburn said: “You’ve got to get your own form right. I was asked about a prediction at the start of the season, ‘can Arsenal finish top four’ well of course they can, because the players are good enough for them to sneak into that sort of bracket.
“Did I actually think they would achieve that when I was asked? Probably not.
“I thought that the teams ahead of them such as Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea, just looked to have a bit more about them. Then you’re looking at Man Utd who signed [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Jadon] Sancho, so you’re thinking, ‘can we really finish above them?’ and that’s before you get to the likes of Leicester and West Ham.
“If you’re looking at how the season has gone so far, there’s a position available in the top four for whoever wants to grab it. Man Utd are wobbling at the moment, West Ham are looking consistent.
“I still think it’s a big test for Arsenal and the next fixtures in the coming weeks could tell us a lot more. If Arsenal pick up a few injuries then they could slip away again, but if everyone stays fit then the momentum could carry on.
“My gut feeling is that they’ll just miss out on top four, but I hope I’m wrong!”
Midfielder Emile Smith Rowe’s fine form has been one of the driving forces behind Arsenal’s recent good run and former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand recently praised the youngster following his good form.
“There’s nobody doing more right now than Emile Smith Rowe,” said Ferdinand. “He reminds me, with more end product it seems right now and I think he’ll go onto levels, his style is a little bit [Alex] Hleb.
“He plays low, socks similar, the way he moves and manipulates the ball, can keep people off balance all game. He’s got a bit of Hleb about him! He’s got a Robert Pires vibe a little bit.”