Manuel Almunia bemoans current state of Arsenal: ‘It’s a shame’

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta has a huge job on his hands at Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia says the state the club currently find themselves in is a shame, but has backed current manager Mikel Arteta to improve the situation at the Emirates.

Before the coronavirus hiatus for football across the globe, Arsenal sat ninth in the Premier League and their chances of Champions League qualification looking all-but over after being dumped out of the Europa League by Olympiacos.

Arteta, who arrived as manager in December, has made a positive impact, with the Gunners losing just one of their last 13 games and while things are not great at the moment, Almunia is certain they will improve.

‘With Arsenal, as the big club that they are, it’s a shame to see them like this,’ Almunia told Marca. ‘For the history, infrastructure, British and global fans and the attraction in general, they should be in the Champions League and higher up in the league.

Mikel Arteta and Manuel Almunia
Manuel Almunia has backed Mikel Arteta to succeed at Arsenal (Picture: Getty Images)

‘Sooner or later, they’ll be among the best again and I’m sure Mikel will help with that.

‘He was a player not long ago. He’s shared the dressing room with some of the players he coaches now and he knows what modern football is like and he’ll know what the best thing for them is. He has to be given time.’

Three straight Premier League victories have put Arsenal eight points behind Chelsea in fourth and just five points behind Manchester United in fifth, which may be the position they need to reach for Champions League qualification given Manchester City’s impending ban from UEFA.

However, little is clear at the moment as the season may not be completed at all, given the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

After Arsenal’s last match, a 1-0 win over West Ham on 7 March, Arteta had been much more confident about his side’s chances of Champions League football.

‘I don’t know. It’s still a long way to go. We want to go game by game,’ said the Spaniard.

‘Three weeks ago it was impossible. Now it looks more possible.’

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