Emile Heskey hasn’t given Arsenal much chance of a top-four finish this season, predicting the Gunners to end the campaign outside of the Champions League places for the second time in as many years.
The doubts about Arsenal’s ability to win games and return to the top four have returned in full force after the 2-1 defeat at Watford.
The defeat featured a lot familiar failings, and it’s because of those that Emile Heskey believes Arsenal won’t be playing in the Champions League next season.
“I think Arsenal will miss out on the Champions League next season,” he told Sportingbet. “The club needs a massive rebuilding job and the mentality of the players needs to change.
“I played in an era when Arsenal players had a winner’s mentality when they wanted to win every ball, every week and win every trophy. The club doesn’t have that anymore and they seem timid instead.”
The most popular criticism that Arsenal received on Saturday was that they were too soft and lacked leadership. Changing the mentality of the players, though, is impossible to do overnight and would require significant change on and off the pitch.
Arsenal had been in good form before the defeat, going unbeaten throughout September and winning all but one of their games. That form failed to translate over into the game at Watford, as the team was far from its best.
Per Mertesacker had given Arsenal the lead before half-time, but I felt we lacked the ruthlessness in the final third to put the game to bed. The performance, on a whole, was lack lustre.
It’s no surprise that nobody thinks Arsenal can get into the top-four if they’re using that game as evidence. Let’s hope that Heskey is off-target as a pundit as often he was as a player.