Curtis Davies admits Aston Villa's recent slump has come as 'a tough pill to swallow' for all concerned.
Martin O'Neill's side sat fourth in the Premier League table heading into March, with a UEFA Champions League spot seemingly within touching distance.
However, they have taken just two points from their last seven top-flight fixtures and now find themselves seven points adrift of Arsenal.
Davies is refusing to accept that a top-four finish is now out of reach for Villa, but he does accept that the Gunners would need to slip up badly for that to happen.
"Is the Champions League out of reach now? It is going to be tough. We can only go and win the five games we have left," said the centre-half.
"I know Arsenal are involved other competitions, including the Champions League, and they are going to be focusing on them as well so you can hope that they are going to slip up.
"But, to be entirely honest, I don't really see Arsenal slipping up too many times over the course of the rest of the season.
"For us as players, and also the fans, because we were in fourth place for so long and looking so strong when in that position, then it is a tough pill to swallow.
"We had to win against West Ham (on Saturday, a game they drew 1-1). Then you could have said 'Arsenal have still got to play the top three and that is going to be tough for them.'
"But I didn't see them losing all three of those games anyway and, with them now having a game in hand, for them to lose another one after that as well to let us back in is a big ask."
Despite admitting his disappointment at Villa's current plight, Davies does still believe that the 2008/09 campaign can be deemed as a successful one for the Midlanders.
"It will not be a failure if we come fifth. At the beginning of the season, if you said we would finish fifth, you would be happy," he said.
"There are a lot of teams who would love to finish fifth in the Premier League.
"People ask me if this is a golden chance gone especially as a team like Manchester City might spend a lot in the summer. But I think City spent a lot of money last summer and they are still technically in a relegation fight.
"We are never worried about people spending money. Arsenal, even though they don't spend a lot of money as such, when they do bring in players, they bring in top quality players and we pushed them all the way to the wire.
"We can only see what happens next year, and who we bring in, and we just have to try and jump in there next season."