Roy Keane has warned Mikel Arteta about it Arsenal’s progress this season will mean little if Tottenham or Manchester United beat the Gunners into the top four in the Premier League.
Arteta’s side have bounced back from a dismal start to the campaign to emerge fourth-place favorites behind title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool and third-placed Chelsea.
Arsenal are three points clear of Tottenham and United and have a game against their two top-four rivals ahead of their first return leg after the international break, a trip to south London to face Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace on Monday night.
Former Manchester United captain Keane has been impressed with Arsenal’s development this season but says their season is still seen as a “disappointment” if they leave the Champions League spots.
“The next month will be crucial for Arsenal,” Keane said on Sky Bet’s Overlap show.
“The criticism at the start of the season, they probably didn’t deserve that, but if they finish fifth or sixth there’s probably still going to be some disappointment for Arsenal.
“That’s the reality. This is the big test for the team over the next two months. With all the praise for the last few months, now is crunch time.
“At the end of the season you really judge teams. If Arsenal finish sixth, I don’t think Arsenal fans will be saying, ‘This is a great project, we’re all behind it’.
“If that happens there will be an element of further disappointment. The next two months are huge.’
Former Manchester United and England defender Gary Neville has since done so warned Arsenal that Arteta could decide to leave at the end of the season.
He said at the same event: “I really like Arteta, I think he’s a brilliant coach. I think the team is fantastic in terms of the young players they have.
“My concern is if Arsenal finish fourth this season – which to be fair I think is 50/50, I still think there’s a long way to go in this race – but if they finish fourth that’s sort of it as good as it gets .
“You have pep [Guardiola], [Jurgen] Klopp, Manchester United, Chelsea. Where can Arsenal go? You will not compete.
“Mikel Arteta is a brilliant coach. I think it’s great that we’re seeing a team that he gets the maximum out of. I can see exactly how he wants to play, we can all do it.
“But he will be fourth [and] If he was going to take it really hard, he’d probably say, “Right, that’s the best thing I can do there, I’m going to go get my next job now.”
On Monday Arsenal meet a Crystal Palace side who have impressed under Gunners legend Vieira, are mid-table in the Premier League and have reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/03/31/arsenal-news-roy-keane-warns-mikel-arteta-man-utd-tottenham-top-four-battle-16380122/ Roy Keane warns Mikel Arteta as Arsenal battle for top 4 vs Man Utd