NIGEL WINTERBURN believes Arsenal must learn from their previous collapses to challenge Manchester City this season.
But they are already reaping the rewards of adding two new experienced stars who have injected a “winning mentality” into the squad.
Mikel Arteta’s side have made a stunning start to the season by winning eight of their first nine matches – including against top-four rivals Tottenham and Liverpool in their last two.
And with almost a quarter of the season played, they sit top of the table – a point clear of favourites City.
But it did not take long for rival fans to highlight Arsenal’s 2004-05 and 2007-08 seasons – the only two times in Premier League history a team has started with 25 points from 27 but NOT lifted the title.
Now Winterburn, 58, is hoping the Gunners stars can learn from teams of yesteryear – plus their own painful crumble to miss out on Champions League qualification last season – to go all the way this time around.
The Highbury hero, who won three league titles, told SunSport: “It would be a huge disappointment if Arsenal finished outside the top four, with the start that they’ve had.
“At the start of the season, I said that top four is what Arsenal need and they also needed a big run, if not two big runs in the cup competitions.
“From what they’ve done so far in the league, they’ve set themselves up beautifully.
“League-wise, I know it’s early and we can get carried away but the way that they’ve played, I would expect them to be inside the top four at the end of the season.
“Everybody still thinks that Manchester City are the team to beat, especially with their squad depth too.
“With Erling Haaland in their team, they have a different dimension again this season with the goals he’s scoring.
“If we [Arsenal] are not top of the league when we stop for the World Cup, I’d hope that we’re very close behind and that would be a sensational start to the season.
“If Arsenal can keep this form going, then I certainly believe that they can put some pressure on City. But we don’t know if Arsenal can keep it going.
“They had a poor start last season, then they had a great run and when they set themselves up to finish the season off, it fell apart.
To Read Daily News, click here