‘Hopeful’ pundit claims Arsenal will ‘crumble’ in title race ahead of ‘business end of the season’

Jason Soutar
Arsenal players celebrate their last-minute goal against Bournemouth

Former Tottenham midfielder Jamie O’Hara reckons Arsenal will “still crumble” and throw away their five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

The Gunners looked like they would drop points at home to Bournemouth on Saturday before Reiss Nelson scored a dramatic 97th-minute goal.

At 2-0 down to their struggling Premier League rivals, Manchester City players, staff and fans would have been rubbing their hands together following their comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle earlier on Saturday.

Arsenal pushed and pushed before getting a well-earned victory thanks to goals from Nelson, Thomas Partey and Ben White.

This is the sort of result everyone will look back on at the end of the season if Mikel Arteta’s side go on to become champions for the first time in nearly two decades.

O’Hara actually praised Arsenal for their mentality against the Cherries before admitting he ‘hopes’ they “crumble”.

“They weren’t happy with a draw,” he told Sky Sports. “Maybe they go 2-0 down and they’re thinking, ‘If we knick a draw, it’s a good point’. No, this Arsenal team believe they can still win the game and you can see it when they’re playing at home with the fans getting behind them and the players.

“Fair play to Arteta because he brought [Emile] Smith Rowe on, he looked a little bit out of sorts…Took him off and put Reiss Nelson on, he was absolutely brilliant.

“To score that goal in the 97th minute was ridiculous.

“I want to sit here and hopefully see Arsenal crumble as a Tottenham fan, but you’ve got to hold your hands up and go, ‘Tell you what, fair play to them, they’re playing some good stuff’.”

From ‘hoping’ they crumble, to going out on a limb and saying they will crumble, the ex-Spurs player is not sure Arsenal have what it takes with “the business end of the season” on its way.

“They’ll still crumble,” O’Hara said. “The business end of the season is still to come. Let’s see what it’s like when there is five, six games left.

“They have had an incredible season, fair play and they are playing some good stuff.

“They are going to be right there at the end of the season fighting it out with Manchester City.”

Arsenal are back in Europa League action on Thursday when they take on Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon.

A tricky trip to Fulham is coming up three days later, though the Gunners are boosted by the absence of Joao Palhinha – who is suspended.

Arteta’s side actually have a good run of fixtures coming up, but the Spanish manager will be hoping they make light work of home games against Leeds United and Crystal Palace after the berzerk win against Bournemouth.

The “business end” in question does include a relentless run of fixtures.

Between 26 April and 13 May, the Gunners face Manchester City (a), Chelsea (h), Newcastle (a) and Brighton (h), with potential Europa League ties thrown into the mix.

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