Martin Keown rates Arsenal’s top-four chances after Newcastle United thrashing

Arsenal players against Newcastle United
Arsenal were in fine form against Newcastle on Sunday (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal legend Martin Keown admits it will be tough for the Gunners to qualify for the Champions League, despite fifth spot potentially offering a route into the competition.

Manchester City’s prospective Champions League ban has opened up the chance for the fifth-placed side in the Premier League to qualify for Europe’s elite tournament.

After 26 league games, Arsenal have only accrued 34 points, six behind north London rivals Spurs who occupy fifth place.

Despite Mikel Arteta’s side’s impressive 4-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday, former England defender Keown thinks the gap may be too big.

He told BBC Sport: ‘This Arsenal team are still very much a work in progress.

‘After all, they started the weekend level on points with Newcastle, who now look in trouble after defeat. That could have been Arsenal.

‘Arteta has some selection issues to contend with after leaving Alexandre Lacazette, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira and Gabriel Martinelli on the bench – with all of them having good arguments to be in the starting XI.

‘The positives were that Lacazette came on to end a nine-game wait for a goal with the late fourth, and that the Gunners look like a very together squad.’

‘They all celebrated together at the end, with Martinelli, who did not even get off the bench, laughing and joking on the pitch.’

Keown feels that Arsenal’s emphatic win against Steve Bruce’s side can help kick-start a run of form.

He added: ‘The winning feeling has eluded them on too many occasions this season but this was a big turnaround for Arteta and Arsenal.’

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