Alan Smith warns Arsene Wenger could struggle to motivate players to finish in top four

Arsenal Emirates

The former Arsenal striker has grave concerns over the Gunners' Champions League qualification after a run of poor results.

Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has told Sky Sports, as quoted by the London Evening Standard, that he is worried that Arsene Wenger will be unable to motivate the players in the final weeks of the season to ensure that they finish in the top four.

The Gunners were held to a 0-0 draw by Sunderland on Sunday, the third time in the last four matches they have dropped points, to leave them with just five wins from the last 15 league matches since early January.

That form has seen them fall from genuine title contenders to fourth, where they are now just five points ahead of Manchester United with the Red Devils holding a game in hand.

With his former side in serious danger of missing out on the Champions League for the first time in 19 years, Smith told Sky Sports that Wenger must do everything he can to rally his players and ensure that they are motivated enough to hold on to fourth spot.

Smith said, as quoted by the London Evening Standard: "They've got to be extremely careful because they're not in the best of form and you hope the players can lift themselves.

"Sometimes it is difficult to rally the troops to finish fourth - you're not actually going for any silverware - but it's hugely important for Arsenal. Manchester United are breathing down their necks and it's a challenge. Arsene Wenger has always done it and you fancy them to do it again

"But there's an element of 'the season's over' for them and the players have been unable to sustain that title challenge. The shoulders drop a little bit and they come off it five or 10 per cent, that can be costly. They need to go again now really."

The Gunners will hope they have more success in breaking down teams at the bottom of the table before the season is out, with home clashes against Norwich City and already-relegated Aston Villa either side of a testing trip to Manchester City in their final three games.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch