Rio Ferdinand sets Champions League target for Mikel Arteta and Arsenal

Arteta's side are on a good run of form
Arteta’s side are on a good run of form (Picture: Getty Images)

Rio Ferdinand says Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal should be aiming to finish in the Champions League places this season and doesn’t believe that target is out of their reach.

The Gunners were languishing as low as 15th in the table in December but have completely turned their fortunes around with a run of five wins in their last six Premier League games.

Arteta’s side got through a tricky test away at St Mary’s on Tuesday as they exacted revenge on the side that knocked them out of the FA Cup at the fourth-round stage last weekend.

Saka has been key to Arsenal's resurgence
Saka has been key to Arsenal’s resurgence (Picture: Getty Images)

After going 1-0 down early on courtesy of Stuart Armstrong’s powerful strike, goals from Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette secured a 3-1 victory for Arsenal to catapult them up to eighth in the standings.

The north Londoners haven’t played Champions League football since the 2016/17 campaign and face an uphill battle to qualify for Europe’s elite competition again.

But given the inconsistency of the sides around them, Manchester United legend Ferdinand feels they can make the top four if they keep up their current form.

‘He’s got to be thinking of trying to get into the Champions League,’ Ferdinand told BT Sport. ‘That’s not something he will think is beyond them.

‘The form that they’re in right now, if they can sustain that, they are going to be in with a shout. 

‘If this was last season, they’re not qualifying for the Champions League, there’s too much consistency around the league.

‘There isn’t consistency in this league, so it’s very much up for play.’

When asked after the win against the Saints whether he can start to think about his side finishing in the top four, Arteta said: ‘I don’t want to look at the table.

‘I want to look at ourselves and how we can get better, the reasons why we are performing better and winning more football matches and then get that consistency that we’ve been lacking.

‘We just want to try to improve as a team. Tomorrow is another day so let’s review the game, train, improve in the many areas we need to get better and then see where we get by doing that.’

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