Marc Overmars says Arsenal must beat Tottenham on Sunday – or their season is finished.
The Gunners are sitting fifth in the Premier League going into the north London derby at White Hart Lane, four points adrift of third-placed Spurs.
And Overmars has warned his former club they cannot afford to drop any points against their fierce rivals if they are to have any hope of finishing in the top four come the end of the season.
“Sunday is crucial for them,” said the Dutchman, who scored 41 goals in 142 appearances for Arsenal between 1997-2000.
“At this moment in the Premier League, it is very difficult for Arsenal. They have to win the match. If they don’t, the season is over.”
A negative result this weekend will heap further pressure on Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, who has faced calls to quit with the club seemingly certain to end an eighth straight season without any silverware.
But Overmars, who won a host of trophies under Wenger during his three-year spell in north London, has told supporters to trust the Frenchman.
“They have to keep faith in Mr Wenger and the board,” he said.
“The problem is football has changed a lot in the last ten years. With all clubs having private investors or owners, it makes it more difficult.
"In my period, we had seven or eight English players in the team and three foreigners. These days it is the opposite. So it makes it more complicated to get the right player into your team."