Despite the additions in the summer window, Roy Keane believes Arsenal will once again miss out on the Champions League for one reason.
THE LOWDOWN: ALL EYES ON ARSENAL
Roy Keane believes Arsenal have a certain ‘softness’ to their squad and it would see them miss out on a top-four spot once again this season.
The Gunners have flattered in pre-season and made light work of their final game with a 6-0 thumping of Sevilla before their Premier League opener away to Crystal Palace on Friday.
New signing Gabriel Jesus has fit in seamlessly with his new teammates, scoring seven pre-season goals, while Oleksandr Zinchenko has equally impressed right from his debut against Chelsea.
Arsenal looked to have improved from what we’ve seen but Roy Keane is far from convinced and believes the Gunners will once again miss out on Champions League football, just like last term.
THE LATEST: KEANE DOUBTS ARSENAL
While Arsenal turned their campaign around in the second half of last season, an end-of-season capitulation allowed north London rivals Tottenham pip them to a top-four finish, condemning the Gunners to Europa League football instead.
Predictions are in full swing ahead of the new campaign and Keane can see Arsenal suffering another similar slump.
Ahead of Friday’s trip to Selhurst Park, Keane told Sky Bet: “‘I think last season was their big opportunity [to return to the Champions League].
“They blew it, they got into a great position, four, five games to go in the season you think they’re in pole position and they blew it.
“They couldn’t get over the line. They were poor, 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 because the other teams.
Keane believes other teams have strengthened and Arsenal will fall short once again.
“Manchester United will get better you’d of thought. Tottenham will be stronger, so you can’t see it for Arsenal, big set-back,, he added.
“Arsenal should be competing for top-four so to come up short and finish behind Tottenham was a hammer blow.
“There’s still a softness to the group. Okay, they’re young and sometimes you need experienced lads to get you over the line in the big games. But there’s a softness to them, even the two centre-halves, they’re not convincing.”
THE VERDICT: AS USUAL FROM KEANE
Obviously he’s looking to make a controversial statement and that’s about it. It would be ridiculous to write off Arsenal or any other side at this stage of the season.
In reality, the race for the top-four will be as heated as we’ve ever seen, this time around. One thing is certain though and it’s the fact that Arsenal will be among the top names in contention.
The Gunners are obviously stronger than last season but many other factors could derail a team’s performance. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out but let’s hope Keane is made to eat his words come May.