Football   |   April 26, 2023

Gary Lineker Defends Arsenal’s Title Hopes and Criticizes Critics

Former England footballer Gary Lineker has spoken out against critics who accuse Arsenal of “bottling it” in the race for the Premier League title. Lineker stated that the Gunners still had a genuine chance of ending their 19-year league title drought at the end of the season.

Arsenal have drawn three consecutive games in the Premier League and have lost their lead to second-placed Manchester City. Manchester City have two games in hand over the Gunners and currently trail by five points. If Manchester City manages to avoid defeat in their upcoming match against Arsenal on 26 April, they could take control of the Premier League title race. Follow your favourite Premier League team with the best betting odds from NextBet.

In an interview with the Irish Times before Arsenal’s 3-3 draw with Southampton on 21 April, Lineker slammed Arsenal’s critics. He said, “I tipped Arsenal from about November, but now I think it’s 50/50 between them and Man City. I still think they’ve got a real chance. If they can get anything on Wednesday, I think they’ll win it. If they don’t, it’s difficult. City can win every game because they’re so good. People are saying Arsenal are bottling it and that’s nonsense. Two away draws [2-2 vs Liverpool and West Ham United] is not bottling it.”

He continued, “I suppose they have given away leads, but away from home [those things can happen]. But they’re a good side, a really good side. If it’s not this season, it will come. They’re well-managed, good recruitment, great young players, they’ll be fine.”

Arsenal fans are hoping to see their team lift the Premier League title this season, which would mark their first league triumph since 2004. Before the team’s recent slump in form, they looked on course to end the drought. However, now the defending champions Manchester City are the favorites to clinch the title.

Although coming second would be a disappointment for Arsenal fans, the team should not take it lightly. They have not been in the title race conversation for the past five seasons and have not led it until matchday 32, with 75 points currently. In the 2020-21 season, they finished eighth with 61 points. 

However, last season they improved to fifth with 69 points, and they finished sixth (63 points) and fifth (70 points) respectively in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons. Their last qualification for the Champions League was in the 2015-16 season when they finished second with 71 points, behind Leicester City in the Premier League race. Follow NextBet Sports for all the latest updates on the Premier League.