rsenal players and fans have been handed a reality check by Stan Collymore, who insists the club have “no chance” of winning the Premier League title this season.
The Gunners have made a perfect start to the season, winning five of five, to record their best ever beginning to a Premier League campaign and the only 100% record in English football.
However, those results have come against newly promoted Fulham and Bournemouth, Leicester and Aston Villa teams struggling at the bottom of the table and Crystal Palace.
On Sunday they face what can be considered their first real test of the season, away at a Manchester United side who appear to have recovered after kicking off the term with two defeats.
Collymore has been impressed by Mikel Arteta’s work at Arsenal but is not remotely convinced the title will be heading to north London in May.
“I’m willing to stick my neck on the line right now and tell all those Gooners who think they will be challenging for the title after five wins from five that they simply have no chance,” he wrote in his column for the Mirror.
“The smart money is on Manchester City to win the Premier League by anything between nine and 15 points. And history tells me that Arsenal won’t be anywhere near them at the pointy end of the season.
“Just look at the gap they have to close – 24 points last season – and reflect on the previous seven or eight years. There is nothing to suggest they can now mount a serious challenge, even after starting brightly.
“What baffles me is that supporters and pundits alike seem to regularly suffer from collective amnesia when it comes to remembering how seasons pan out. It’s not a case of teams playing 38 games on beautiful sunny days in front of a really enthusiastic crowd.”
He added: “They are one of the best teams on the planet at playing when there’s no pressure, no stress, no hassle, when the pitches are beautiful and the days long and sunny.”
Arsenal’s Europa League campaign starts next week before an October schedule which will see them face Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City inside three weeks.
He concludes: “It’s not as if the team has faced a really tough test yet – at least three of their five games have been against teams who could well end up in a relegation scrap.
“So while I’ve enjoyed watching Arsenal’s performances, their fans need to enjoy the start for what it is. And if your club does get to third or fourth, I will say, ‘Well done, you were right to give Arteta the time and money to do what he has done’.
“Although qualification for the Champions League still isn’t winning the title, is it?”