Jamie Carragher has given his verdict on where Arsenal could finish in the Premier League this season, in conversation with Sky Sports.
Mikel Arteta was confirmed as the Gunners’ new permanent head coach just before Christmas last year, the Spaniard replacing compatriot Unai Emery after the latter was axed at the Emirates Stadium.
At the time, Arsenal were stuck in a rut, languishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table with a meagre five wins all season amid some poor results.
Ten months on, the Gunners are a much-improved side, having won the FA Cup and Community Shield, playing better football and making some shrewd signings.
However, Arsenal are far from the finished product, as Monday night’s 3-1 loss at Liverpool proved, and Arteta still has work to do.
However, Carragher is optimistic, claiming that, even though the North Londoners may not yet have the players for a top-four finish, Arteta’s management could get them over the line.
“Arsenal stayed in the game which was important and they had a big chance and it can be completely different, but Liverpool are a few years down the line,” Carragher told Sky Sports.
“I think it’s almost an identical job to what Klopp came into. Klopp came into a Liverpool squad where they weren’t even qualifying for the Champions League. That’s what Arsenal haven’t done for the last few years.
“The first thing for Arsenal is to get back into the Champions League. I think there’s a good chance they can. I didn’t believe that before the start of the season.
“I like a lot of what Mikel Arteta is doing. I don’t think it’s possible for him to get any more out of the group of players he’s got. I don’t think that’s a top-four group but the way he’s organising them, I think they could get into the top four because of his management.”
Arsenal could hardly have picked a better head coach than Arteta – a club icon who learned the ropes under the great Pep Guardiola and now gets the chance to mould in his image a team that has underachieved in recent years.
While there have been some disappointing results and Arteta’s team selection hasn’t always come off – Bukayo Saka not featuring against Jurgen Klopp’s side now looks like a bad call – it’s clear to see what the Spaniard is trying to do and more often than not it works.