Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has said that Arsenal are likely to miss out on a top-four finish next season. He said that the Londoners had squandered a 'massive opportunity' to secure Champions League football this term and would struggle to do so next season due to fixture congestion.
Fourth-placed Arsenal were four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur heading into the final three games of the season. However, they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat in the north London derby against Spurs as their lead got whittled down to a solitary point.
The Gunners then endured another away defeat, this time at Newcastle United, allowing Spurs to go two points clear in fourth place as Conte's side won against Burnley. Arteta’s men won their final league game of the season, but so did Spurs, meaning the Gunners remained fifth in the final standings.
Reflecting on the Gunners’ campaign, Carragher praised manager Mikel Arteta for his work. However, he added that the Spaniard wasn’t on the same level as the league’s best coaches like Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte. Speaking on The Overlap Fan Debate, Carragher said:
“I wanted Arsenal to get top four because I like what Mikel Arteta has done; I actually think he’s done a really good job; I really do believe that, and I love the young players that they’ve got.”
“But Mikel Arteta right now – even though he’s done a good job – is not at the level of Conte, Tuchel, Klopp and Guardiola. And I think that opportunity in that game at Newcastle, I believe that will be a game that Arsenal fans look back on and think, 'That was where it went wrong for Mikel Arteta'."
Carragher thinks the lack of European football gave the Gunners an advantage in the 2021-22 season, something they won’t have next term. The footballer-turned-pundit added:
“When you say about bringing people in and it being a building process, I get that, but Arsenal will have less money now, that top four will have more money, and I just think that was a massive opportunity with having no European football, that was a big advantage this season, they now have to play Thursday-Sunday.”
“I don’t see how Arsenal get Champions League (next season). There’s no way at the start of next season, whoever they bring in, that I would even think Arsenal would be close to the top four. I may be proven wrong.”
Tammy Abraham ‘keen’ on London return amid Arsenal interest
With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah’s contracts expiring in June, Mikel Arteta’s team are in dire need of reinforcements in attack.
As per Metro, former Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has emerged as a possible target. The former Chelsea striker is keen on returning to London, boosting the Gunners’ aspirations.
Abraham, who won the UEFA Europa Conference League on Wednesday (May 25), enjoyed a blistering debut campaign at Roma. The Englishman bagged 27 goals in 52 appearances across competitions to top-score for Jose Mourinho’s team. It's understood Roma have no intention of parting ways with Abraham, meaning the Gunners could have to pay a fortune to get the English striker.