Roy Keane has cast doubt upon Arsenal’s top four ambitions for the new Premier League campaign, saying there is a ‘softness to the group’.
The Gunners just missed out on Champions League football by one point last season, and with their young players more experienced now, Mikel Arteta’s group would have hope this time around.
But the former Manchester United captain does not think the north London side has what it takes at the moment.
Roy Keane said he does not believe Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have what it takes to finish top four
Keane told Sky Bet: ‘The way they finished the season would have been a big setback for them. The manager, the young players that were coming through were doing well, but they came up short. They’ll feel hugely disappointed.
‘But Arsenal should be competing for the top four, so to come up short, and finish below Tottenham, that’s a hammer blow for them.’
The 50-year-old Irishman singled out the centre back pairing of 24-year-olds Ben White and Gabriel Magalhaes in his criticism, saying ‘they’re not convincing’.
‘Okay, they’re young and sometimes you need experienced lads to get you over the line in the big games,’ Keane said.
Keane has said Gabriel Magalhaes and Ben White are ‘not convincing’ as a centre-back pairing
Arsenal had no European commitments last season, but despite only focusing on the Premier League, they could not overhaul Antonio Conte’s Spurs. Keane said it was a ‘big opportunity’, which the Gunners failed to capitalise on.
Keane highlighted a 2-0 defeat in May as one of the reasons behind their failure to get that coveted top four place in 2021-22.
‘They were poor,’ Keane noted. ‘The Newcastle game was a real blow to them, where they never turned up. The manager was quite critical of them after the game, some of the players were – senior ones – so you wouldn’t be putting any bets on Arsenal to finish top four next season.’
He told the panel, including Jeff Stelling and Graeme Souness, that he believes his old club United would ‘get better’ after a period of underperforming, while Spurs will be ‘stronger’ this time around.
Arteta’s Gunners travel to south London to face Crystal Palace in the opening game of the Premier League on Friday night.
Arteta will hope to go one further than last year and get the Gunners in the Champions League