Arsenal have not yet reached “crisis point” and can still secure a place in the Premier League’s top four come May, according to Rob Holding.
The Gunners have slipped to sixth in the top flight standings after 12 fixtures of the 2019-20 season, behind newly-promoted Sheffield United on goal difference.
A 2-0 defeat at Leicester just before the international break left Unai Emery’s men eight points outside the Champions League places, with Southampton set to arrive at Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The Arsenal manager’s position has come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, with some suggesting that the Spaniard is already on borrowed time in the hot seat.
Jose Mourinho was tipped to succeed Emery at the Emirates before taking over at Tottenham on Wednesday, and there are now calls for Mauricio Pochettino to move across north London for his next role in management.
However, Holding has played down the severity of Arsenal’s current plight, with it his belief that a “couple of wins” could see confidence restored within the squad.
“We just need to string a couple of wins together and I think that will lift the confidence again and hopefully set us off on a run,” the Arsenal defender told Sky Sports.
“We just need to stay calm and stay positive. We’re sixth, we’re not a million miles off it.
“We’re going into a busy Christmas period now where there’s going to be three Premier League games a week.
“We’re eight points off the top four but if we have three wins in a week we’re back up within touching distance so it’s not crisis point by any stretch of the imagination. We need to keep calm, keep positive and keep working on what we need to improve on.”
The Arsenal captaincy has been a hot topic of discussion this season, with supporters left divided after Granit Xhaka was awarded the armband following a group vote back in September.
The Swiss international was stripped of his leadership duties less than a month later after reacting angrily to abuse from the Emirates faithful when being substituted during a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has since been named captain, with Xhaka now being tipped to leave the club in January after being dropped from Emery’s squad.
Holding went on to praise Aubameyang for “leading by example on the pitch”, before insisting Xhaka still retains his full support within the dressing room.
“Pierre’s great in the dressing room. He’s such a happy character so everyone is positive around him,” he added.
“He knows how to lift people and he leads by example on the pitch. Having someone like that up front, scoring goals for you always make things easier.
“I’ve never had any problems with Granit and none of the players have ever had any problems with him.
“He’s a great lad to have around the changing rooms and I just think what happened with him was between him and the fans and that is nothing to do with me. I just know I can support the team and support Granit.”