Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Arsenal did not hold their nerve in title race – Smith

SoccerNews in English Premier League 4 May 2016

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Arsenal lost out in the Premier League title race because they could not hold their nerve as well as champions Leicester City, according to Alan Smith.

The former Arsenal and Leicester striker thinks manager Arsene Wenger will be “kicking himself” for many years to come after a season that will not be quickly forgotten by the Gunners faithful.

Wenger’s men were only two points behind Leicester when they beat Claudio Ranieri’s side 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium on February 14.

However, the Foxes have wrapped up the title in the 10 league matches since then, while Arsenal are yet to secure a top-four finish.

Smith is in no doubt that Leicester were more successful than the Gunners due to doing a better job handling the pressure.

“It was their best chance for a number of years, but unlike Leicester they didn’t hold their nerve when it mattered,” Smith told Omnisport of Arsenal’s failed bid.

“You think of the performance at Manchester United going up there was pretty shapeless.

“It is a big, big shame for Arsenal. As much as I’m delighted for Leicester, it is a shame Arsenal couldn’t hold their nerve when it mattered.

“This season won’t be forgotten for many years for a variety of reasons and from an Arsenal perspective it will be one that got away for Arsene Wenger.

“He has obviously done the business in previous years but this was one I’m sure he privately will be kicking himself that they couldn’t keep it together when it mattered.

“The fans certainly think ‘why didn’t we do it’. I’m sure Arsene Wenger is thinking that and I’m sure the players are.”

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