This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking to Football.London, Martin Keown has revealed that Arsenal have one major advantage over their top-four rivals for the upcoming season.
The Gunners were on course for a return to Champions League football last season in Unai Emery’s first campaign in charge at the Emirates, but ended up having to settle for Europa League football following a disappointing climax.
Now, Keown has insisted that changes and upheaval at some of the club’s closest rivals could see the Gunners benefit the most and sneak into the top-four once more.
He said: “We saw last season that Emery had taken Arsenal up the ladder a little bit and fourth place looked a real possibility. I don’t feel this year that the top four positions are cemented. Fourth place is definitely vulnerable.
“I say that because Chelsea have what we expect to be an outstanding manager but one where nevertheless no-one knows how that journey is going to go. He’s a novice, new to this situation. The same is true for Solskjaer really. He lost that consistency with the players after a very good start.
“In the shape of Emery Arsenal have a much more experienced manager. Chelsea have lost one or two players. There’s comings and goings at United, huge pressure for them.”
As Keown suggests, Emery’s greater managerial experience at the highest level compared to his counterparts at both Chelsea and United could stand him in great stead. The Gunners finished agonisingly close of a top-four finish last season, and then fell short in the Europa League final. Whilst the end was certainly disappointing, improvements were certainly made from Arsene Wenger’s final year in charge.
Whether Emery’s side have made the appropriate additions this summer to truly push on remains to be seen, but the Spanish boss’ greater know-how could well give the Gunners a crucial edge when it comes to the pressure-cooker moments.