Former Liverpool and Manchester United stars issue damning verdict on Arsenal defeat at Newcastle United
The Gunners hopes of securing a Champions League spot are hanging by a thread after their defeat in the North East.
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have delivered a sobering verdict on Arsenal’s defeat at Newcastle United and the impact of missing out on a place in the Premier League’s top four.
A first-half own-goal from Gunners defender Ben White and a late strike from former Arsenal target Bruno Guimaraes ensured Mikel Arteta’s side were left pointless from their visit to St James Park.
The result means they now head into their final day home game against Everton trailing North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur by two points in the race for the fourth and final Champions League place.
Spurs will now be strong favourites to return to European football’s elite competition as they head to already-relegated Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday knowing a draw should be enough to secure fourth place given the advantage on goal difference they hold on the Gunners.
Former Liverpool and England defender Carragher told Sky Sports he believes the defeat on Tyneside and a failure to secure Champions League football will be a major issue for Arteta’s side going forwards.
He said: “I think that is a massive problem and not just this season. I think it’s a huge problem for Mikel Arteta and this Arsenal team going forward.
“Europa League next season, Thursday, Sunday. I think they’ve had their opportunity this season, a big one, no European football. That was a big advantage for them.
“They are not in the best four sides in the country - but they had an advantage on the other teams and they still haven’t made it pay.
“I do really fear for Arsenal next season.”
‘They showed us nothing and it tells us where they are at’
Carragher’s damning verdict of the Gunners was replicated by former Manchester United captain Neville.
He compared the severity of the loss at St James Park to Manchester United’s defeat against Villarreal in last season’s Europa League Final and insisted he ‘never fully trusted’ Arsenal to secure a top-four spot.
“I remember (Manchester) United losing that Europa League Final against Villarreal and thinking it was more than just a defeat in a final. Those Arsenal players body language at the end tells you it’s more than just a defeat.
“It’s a big one for them and I gave them the benefit of the doubt at half-time because I felt the only was they would win this game was through a grind.
“I didn’t think they would come out of that game on Thursday at Tottenham, that was really damaging.
“They were brutalised by that Tottenham fanbase for 60 minutes and that’s a young team that doesn’t have that experience and character. I never fully trusted them to get into the top four to be honest.
“I thought they would come out second-half and respond from a poor first-half and go and get that victory tonight - but they showed us nothing and it tells us where they are at.
“They got schooled on Thursday at Tottenham, they’ve lacked experience on and off the pitch tonight and it will cause them a big problem.”