Martin Keown baulks at Arsenal top-four question and predicts position Mikel Arteta’s side would be ‘happy’ to finish in

FBL-ENG-PR-ASTON VILLA-ARSENAL
The Gunners are down in 11th in the table (Picture: Getty Images)

Martin Keown completely dismissed a question about Arsenal’s top-four hopes and insisted his former side would be ‘happy’ to finish in the Europa League places this season.

The Gunners have endured a poor first half of the season and find themselves down in 11th place in the table after 23 games played.

Their fortunes looked like they were turning after a good run of form over the winter period but back-to-back losses in the Premier League have halted their progress.

Mikel Arteta’s side face a pivotal set of fixtures over the next few weeks including a tricky home encounter against Leeds on Sunday which is followed by their crunch Europa League last-32 tie with Benfica next week.

Sandwiched in between the two legs of their European matchup, the Gunners face league leaders Manchester City.

After finishing eighth in the league last season, and only securing Europa League qualification through their FA Cup triumph, former Arsenal defender Keown believes the pressure is on Arteta.

‘This is going to be a tough period for them and you look at the way that they’ve lost the last two matches [against Wolves and Aston Villa], ill-discipline in the group,’ he told BBC’s Football Focus.

‘This is a chance now to really turn it around. The pressure is on, they finished eighth last season, they’re out of the FA Cup, Europa League is probably their best chance. 

‘So the pressure is building on Arteta, I do feel he is the man for the future and needs to be given time to buy players in the summer but Arsenal are going down the table fast.’

If Arsenal beat Leeds, they will go within six points of fourth-placed Liverpool, but when quizzed on whether Arteta’s side could still finish in the top four, Keown replied: ‘I can’t believe you are even asking that.

‘Top four? At the moment they have even played a game more than Leeds and are below them in the table right now.

‘If they can finish in the Europa League spots then they will almost be happy with that.’

MORE : Arsenal legend David Seaman accuses Mikel Arteta of playing a ‘dangerous game’

MORE : Real Madrid set price for Arsenal to sign loanee Dani Ceballos

Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more stories like this, check our sport page

No comments