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Arsenal ‘faded’ in Tottenham’s ‘hostile’ atmosphere, insists Gary Neville, as Manchester United legend delivers verdict on remaining fixtures in Premier League top four race


Gary Neville believes Arsenal’s young side succumbed to the atmospheric occasion in their 3-0 defeat at Tottenham on Thursday night.

Spurs moved within a point of their fourth-place rivals with a convincing win in front of a raucous hometown faithful.

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The pressure remains on Arsenal for their last two matches of the season

Arsenal ‘faded’ in Tottenham’s ‘hostile’ atmosphere, insists Gary Neville, as Manchester United legend delivers verdict on remaining fixtures in Premier League top four race

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Tottenham fans made their presence felt in the derby to create an electric atmosphere

The Gunners, who were down to ten men in 33 minutes after two avoidable yellow cards for Rob Holding, were like rabbits in the headlights as Tottenham rode the wave of noise inside their new ground.

After the game was originally postponed in January and moved to an evening kick-off in the penultimate week of the season, with Champions League qualification on the line, Neville believes a combination of these factors created a unique atmosphere in North London.

And while Tottenham have risen to the occasion, he believes Mikel Arteta’s men have faltered.

The Manchester United legend said on his podcast: “After 1-0 that crowd was all over the place – it was chaos after the first goal. At that point Arsenal collapsed. They capitulated in that part. Game.

“Once you create that carnival atmosphere in a pitch like this, and I think calling it a hostile and fierce atmosphere is fair, that was testing tonight. I always thought it would be a special game because of what’s in it, why it got canceled earlier in the season and then what’s at stake.

“You never want to create a cliff edge, but Champions League football or no Champions League football for Arteta and Conte, for Tottenham and Arsenal from an economic point of view is just out of the question. ladder. It’s huge and the drop is so big.

Arsenal ‘faded’ in Tottenham’s ‘hostile’ atmosphere, insists Gary Neville, as Manchester United legend delivers verdict on remaining fixtures in Premier League top four race

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Six points from their last two games will still guarantee Champions League football for Arsenal

“Then you have the way the game was called off earlier in the season… It was all a bit messy. They should have been made to play there, in my opinion.

“So there was a bit of a needle in this game on three fronts…and the fact that it’s a Thursday night game just adds to that. You don’t get that usually, it was usually Sunday afternoon games.

“It was very hot here in terms of atmosphere and it affected Arsenal and those young players. They seemed mentally weaker in that period of the game from 10 minutes to 35 minutes. It happened to them. It can happen.”

In their remaining fixtures, Spurs have relegation-threatened Burnley at home and already-relegated Norwich away, while Arsenal travel to Newcastle and welcome a resurgent Everton – who could also struggle to stay up on the final day.

And Neville believes that if fate remains in the hands of the Gunners, Antonio Conte’s men have the advantage.

He added: “You would want the Tottenham – Burnley home and Norwich away games.

Arsenal ‘faded’ in Tottenham’s ‘hostile’ atmosphere, insists Gary Neville, as Manchester United legend delivers verdict on remaining fixtures in Premier League top four race

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Harry Kane and Heung-min Son did damage for Spurs

“Newcastle away [for Arsenal] on Monday Night Football, it’s going to be really tough, especially if Spurs won on Sunday.

“Everton at home on the last day, if Everton need points then they have two really tough games.

“I think Tottenham will beat Burnley and Arsenal will have to win their last two games. But I’m not sure they will.

“Tonight was a very big blow – maybe I’m wrong and I’m neutral between these two clubs – but I now feel that if I were to put any money on it, it would be on Tottenham.”

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