Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Newcastle was a blow to their first four prospects, with Jamie Carragher now fearful for Mikel Arteta.
Ben White’s own goal and Bruno Guimaraes’ late strike mean Arsenal remain two points clear of Tottenham going into the final game of the season, with Spurs needing just a draw to finish fourth considering of their far superior goal difference.
When asked if their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League were over, Carragher replied: “Yes. Spurs don’t lose from this position. Arsenal know that. There is no one in football world who thinks Arsenal will make Champions League football out of this. No luck.”
Carragher was highly critical of the performance at St James’ Park as Newcastle dominated possession from the start, with Arsenal struggling to muster much at the other end.
“I thought they were awful. And I’ve been a huge supporter of Mikel Arteta and that Arsenal team because since I started at Sky I’ve been sick of saying the same things about of Arsenal. I was fed up myself. I really enjoyed seeing young players, I could fall behind.
“I think the fans could be behind it. They almost accepted that they weren’t going to compete for honours, but there was something building. But that performance today was bad. It was a cup final today we know how important the Champions League is.
“To be so poor in the first half and then produce that in the second half is not acceptable. It wasn’t the result, it was the way of the result, they were horrible from the first minute. “
The defeat sends Arsenal into the Europa League and Carragher believes it will have far-reaching ramifications for the Gunners – and their manager.
“I think it’s a problem not just this season, but I think it’s a huge problem for Mikel Arteta and this Arsenal team going forward,” Carragher added.
“Europa League next season, Thursday, Sunday. I think they had their opportunity this season – a big one – without European football. It was a big advantage for them.
“They are not in the top four teams in the country but they had an advantage over the other teams and they still haven’t made it pay. I fear for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta next season.
“I think it’s going to be tough for him. I think it’s going to be a game that will be looked back on when he finally leaves the club. It’s Arteta’s first job, so he doesn’t really have that belief behind it. him.
“If Antonio Conte is having a bad time, you know he won the league at Chelsea, at Inter Milan. You get the feeling he’s done it before and he knows what he’s doing.
“Arteta has never done it before. It’s not a criticism, it’s just a fact. He needed it tonight. I’m really scared for him next season and if Arsenal are seventh or eighth at Christmas with them in the Europa League, there is going to put enormous pressure on his work.”
Gary Neville agreed with much of what Carragher said.
“I gave them the benefit of the doubt at half-time,” Neville said. Monday night football.
“They’re a young team that doesn’t have the experience or the character. I never fully trusted them to get into the top four, to be honest with you, all along. But I thought they would come out in the second half and respond. That tells us where they stand.
Carra expects changes at Liverpool
Speaking of the Premier League title race, Carragher has seen signs from Aston Villa – led by their former Reds captain Steven Gerrard – that they can cause Manchester City problems on the final day. Just like West Ham did in the 2-2 draw on Sunday.
“Aston Villa have the type of players who can make the kind of runs that Michail Antonio and Jarrod Bowen have made,” Carragher said. Monday night football. “If you think of Danny Ings and Ollie Watkins, the problems they caused behind against Liverpool.”
However, Liverpool need to get a result against Southampton on Tuesday to lead the title race until the final day and with key players struggling after the FA Cup final victory over Chelsea, Carragher expects Jurgen Klopp to have a eye on Real Madrid.
“I don’t think Klopp will play against someone where there is a risk of injury. I know Manchester City have dropped points and that opens the door slightly for Liverpool. I would be surprised to see Mo Salah play, I would be surprised to see Virgil van Dijk playing.
“I would support that. People can say Premier League or Champions League, which is more important? But Liverpool have a better chance of winning the Champions League.
“I think if Liverpool play their best side in the Champions League final there’s an 80 per cent chance of winning that game, I really believe that.
“You have to remember that in the middle of the Champions League semi-finals, Liverpool and Manchester City made major changes to their squads, Liverpool to Newcastle and Manchester City to Leeds, that’s how the Champions League champions was important to them.
“So it’s definitely not going to be a full-fledged Liverpool team.”
Carra prevents Leeds relegation
At the other end of the Premier League table, one from Everton, Leeds and Burnley will join Watford and Norwich in the Championship next season. Carragher believes Leeds are most likely to face the drop – backing Everton to stay put.
“I think Everton will be fine, I believe them. Listen, there will be real panic if they don’t get a good result against Crystal Palace but Everton need to remember where they were two weeks ago before this game. from Chelsea when they were five points behind.
“So they are still in a very good position.”
He is less confident that Leeds can secure the victory they may need at Brentford to hold themselves clear of the relegation zone.
“I fear for Leeds. I think Burnley can take something from the next two games, whether it’s Aston Villa or the last game against Newcastle.
“I just think Leeds are going to fall.”