Gary Neville has once again reversed his Premier League title forecast for Arsenal after Sunday’s 6-0 victory against West Ham.
Initially endorsing Mikel Arteta’s team for success at the beginning of the season, Neville altered his viewpoint this month, citing a perceived deficiency in Arsenal’s ‘killer instinct’ compared to contenders like Liverpool.
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However, following Arsenal’s remarkable triumph over West Ham, the Sky Sports pundit and former Manchester United player has shifted his stance once more.
‘It was around this time last year that there was a lot of pressure on Arsenal, because they were so many points clear,’ Neville said.
‘Everyone thought they’d win the league. But now they are sat there in the pack, right on the shoulder, and it may suit them better.
‘They’ve not produced their best form to this point but they have in the last couple of weeks started to look like they will hit the same form as last season that put them into a position of winning the league.
‘They need to stay focused, calm and keep their players fit. They’re good in a lot of areas.
‘If their front players, who are really exciting, can start to score the goals they were not at the start of the season, they have a real chance.
‘They’re a good team and they are more experienced after last year. They did the right thing today, they won emphatically, they are hitting form.’
Neville has addressed criticisms regarding Arsenal’s exuberant celebrations, particularly in light of their victory over Liverpool last week, which garnered disapproval from various pundits.
‘The over-celebration point, it’s not a weakness,’ Neville added. ‘I know a lot of jokes have been made in the last week.
‘Celebrate when you win or score a goal, no problem at all, but when you ramp up your excitement and anxiety levels for a long period, like they did last season…
‘I always go back to Oleksandr Zinchenko, tooting his horn at fans after beating Bournemouth three months out.
‘If you’re at that level of excitement it just saps energy. It’s not a Gary Neville thing, it’s a thing that happens. If you are constantly at full-tilt, you will use up energy. Last season, they lost their legs in the run-in. They need to remain calm and determined.
‘With Declan Rice in the team, they are a lot better and William Saliba is fit. They’ve got a really good chance, Arsenal.
‘But they are up against Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola. That’s big. If Mikel Arteta drives a bus through those two and wins the league this year, it would be a monumental achievement. He’s in with a chance.’