Roy Keane tips Arsenal ‘softness’ to derail another Champions League challenge

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Roy Keane does not believe Arsenal can finish in this season’s top four  (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Roy Keane does not believe Arsenal can finish in this season’s top four (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Roy Keane says there is a “softness” to Arsenal and believes it will hold them back from finishing in the top four this season.

Mikel Arteta’s side have been impressive throughout pre-season and wrapped up their campaign with a stunning 6-0 win over Sevilla before Friday’s Premier League season opener away at Crystal Palace.

Gabriel Jesus has hit the ground running since his £45m move from Manchester City, while an ambitious summer recruitment drive has also seen Matt Turner, Marquinhos, Fabio Vieira and Oleksandr Zinchenko join the club.

Still, Sky Sports pundit Keane believes the manner in which Arsenal were overtaken by bitter rivals Tottenham last season suggests there is still work to be done at the Emirates Stadium.

While it was a hugely promising campaign for Arteta’s young team, an end-of-season capitulation allowed Antonio Conte’s Spurs side to pip them into fourth spot, condemning Arsenal to a season in the Europa League.

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.

Arsenal unveil new pink third kit

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“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.

“Manchester United will get better you’d of thought. Tottenham will be stronger, so you can’t see it for Arsenal, big set-back.

“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.”

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