Arsenal’s inability to muster a genuine title challenge over the last decade-and-a-half has been difficult enough to deal with, but the club’s problems have accelerated over the past couple of years, with Champions League football now no longer the guarantee it once was for so long.
And it was this drop from the top four of the Premier League that led to the club’s current situation, according to former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher.
Two years ago the Gunners finished just a point outside the Champions League places, behind fourth placed Liverpool. Last season was even worse, with Arsene Wenger’s team finishing sixth, 12 points off the top four.
And this season isn’t shaping up to be much better, with Unai Emery’s men currently six points off fourth placed Chelsea, who they play at the Emirates Stadium, this evening.
And Carragher believes that losing their place at the top table of European football has had a drastic effect on the Gunners’ fortunes ever since.
Writing in the Telegraph, Carragher said, “Consistently qualifying for the Champions League evidently allowed the hierarchy to bluff their way through every season, collecting the proceeds of European qualification.
“The first serious setback at the club in 20 years – failure to qualify for the Champions League in 2017 – triggered a series of decisions showing the board’s poor judgement.
“Emery has a mess to clean up. Worse still, there is no money available to start that lengthy process.
“Unless they defeat Chelsea, the top four looks beyond them.”
Defeat for the Gunners today would leave them nine points behind Maurizio Sarri’s team and three points behind Manchester United, who beat Brighton 2-1 at Old Trafford earlier to move into fifth place.
(h/t the mirror)