Jamie Carragher has criticised Arsenal for an ‘unacceptable’ performance as Mikel Arteta’s side saw their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League suffer a major blow as they were beaten 2-0 by Newcastle.
Goals from Callum Wilson and Bruno Guimaraes saw Arsenal fall to a second successive defeat.
The Gunners must now beat Everton on the final day of the season and hope that Tottenham are beaten by bottom of the table Norwich.
Jamie Carragher criticised Arsenal for an ‘unacceptable’ performance against Newcastle
Carragher stated that Arsenal ‘were awful from minute one’ as they suffered a costly defeat
Despite the game at St James’ Park being of huge importance for Arsenal, Arteta’s team were timid, with Carragher stating that they struggled from the outset.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Carragher said: ‘I think they were awful. I am sick of saying the same things about Arsenal but I have enjoyed this season, a team people can get behind. You felt there was something building, something starting. That was like a cup final for Arsenal and they were really bad. To play that poorly in the first half, and then in the second half, is unacceptable. They were awful from minute one.’
Asked whether Arsenal’s chances of reaching the Champions League are now over, Carragher said: ‘Yes, it is. I think that is a massive problem not just this season but going forward…Europa League next season, Thursday-Sunday, they’ve had a big opportunity without European football.
Gary Neville says that Arsenal will not have a better chance to get into the Champions League
‘They’re not in the top four teams in the country but they’ve had an advantage over the others and they’ve not taken it. I do really fear for them next season and that is a really bad one for them.’
Given their situation this season without any European football, Carragher feels that not getting into the top four would be a major missed opportunity for Arsenal.
He said: ‘It is the run they go on. They almost can’t get themselves out of defeats. There is no sort of reaction that you would expect from a big team. You were expecting that and that is what they are lacking.
‘They had the thing of not playing European football, so not a massive underachievement, probably are the fifth best team but it is a massive opportunity dropped.’
Carragher added that he fears Arteta could be sacked if Arsenal are struggling in December
Gary Neville, meanwhile, slammed the lack of character in the Arsenal team.
Neville said: ‘I gave them the benefit of the doubt at half time. That is a young team, inexperienced, that doesn’t have the experience or the character.
‘I never fully trusted them to get into the top four, to be honest with you, all the way through. But I thought they would come out in the second half and respond. It tells us where they are at.’
Neville added that Arsenal will never have a chance of getting back into the Champions League, a competition that they haven’t been involved in since 2017.
He said: ‘Never been a better chance. Spurs have not been unbelievable, United been a disaster, Arsenal in a great position. They have had more going for them than not, there can be no excuses. They’ve pent a lot of money in the last couple of seasons.
‘Arsenal have fallen short and they always had to prove they could go on and do it at the business end and you could trust them. In the end, the doubters are going to be proved right.’
‘They have blown Champions League. If Arsenal had finished fifth at the start of the season, good season. But that us not the play it is going to be played out because of the position they have got themselves into.’
Carragher also suggested that, despite signing a new contract recently, Arteta could find himself under pressure if Arsenal are struggling in December.
He said: ‘I think it is going to be tough for them. Tonight is pivotal. This will be a game that they look back on when they eventually leave the club. It doesn’t bother me. United needed that as a springboard to have that belief in the manager, Arteta has not got that belief.
‘He needed that tonight and I fear for him in terms of next season as I fear for him if they are 7th or 8th at Christmas.’