'Best equipped': Jamie Carragher changes his stance over where Arsenal will finish this season
Jamie Carragher famously claimed on The Telegraph before the North London derby that Arsenal and Tottenham had lost their status as big six clubs.
The Liverpool legend didn’t expect much of Arsenal after the Gunners’ terrible start to the season. Mikel Arteta’s side were bottom of the league after three consecutive defeats, but things are now looking a lot better.
Arsenal are unbeaten since that game against Manchester City, picking up 10 out of a possible 12 points. Carragher, like many others, has been impressed, and he now believes that the Gunners are the best-equipped club to challenge the top four sides in the country.
Carragher: Arsenal are best equipped to finish fifth
The former England defender told The Telegraph: “Yes. I can’t see anyone else breaking through. We can already see which are the top four strongest Premier League teams (Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United).
“West Ham have had a good start, as have Brighton and Everton, but over the course of 38 games, I am sure both clubs would take a Europa League place if it was offered right now.
“The team that I think is worth watching closely as the season evolves is Arsenal. If they can get the consistency into their young side, the lack of European football can be a massive help for Mikel Arteta as he spends more time with his players on the training ground.
“I think it is too soon for them to qualify for the Champions League, but of the chasing pack they may prove themselves best equipped to challenge.”
Can Arsenal finish fifth?
A top-half finish, let alone top-five, looked impossible for Arsenal after three consecutive defeats. However, Arteta seems to have turned it around at the Emirates in recent weeks.
The emphatic derby win against Tottenham clearly showed what Arsenal want to do this season. If they can perform as well as they did that evening, a top-five finish can easily be achieved, but consistency has been the big problem.
After the highs of the derby, the Gunners looked poor against Brighton. They were arguably lucky to have come away with a point, which shows they are far from the finished product at the moment.
It will be interesting to see how Arsenal will fare in the coming months. If Arteta can somehow find the consistency that the Gunners have lacked over the last three years, he could achieve his best-ever finish in the league as a manager this season.
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