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


oy Keane says there is a ‘softness’ at Arsenal and believes it will prevent them from finishing in the top four this season.

Mikel Arteta’s side have been impressive throughout pre-season and capped off their campaign with a stunning 6-0 win over Sevilla ahead of Friday’s Premier League season opener at Crystal Palace.

Gabriel Jesus has kicked off since his £45million transfer from Manchester City, while an ambitious summer recruitment campaign has also seen Matt Turner, Marquinhos, Fabio Vieira and Oleksandr Zinchenko join the club.

Yet Sky Sports expert Keane believes the way 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 side, a late-season capitulation saw Antonio Conte’s Spurs side propel them to fourth place, condemning Arsenal to one 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 screwed it up, they put themselves in a great position, four, five games left in the season, you think they’re in pole position and they screwed it up.

“They couldn’t cross the line. They were poor, the Newcastle game was a real blow for them where they never showed up.

“The manager was quite critical of them after the game, some of the players were – seniors – so you wouldn’t bet on Arsenal to finish in the top four next season because the other teams.

“Manchester United will be better, you thought. Tottenham will be stronger, so it doesn’t show for Arsenal, big setback.

“Arsenal should be competing for the top four, so to be short and finish behind Tottenham was a hammer blow.

“There is still a sweetness in the group. Okay, they are young and sometimes you need experienced guys to get you over the line in the big games. But there is a softness in them, even the two centre-halves, they are not convincing.

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