Mikel Arteta unhappy with lack of VAR intervention
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Arsenal legend Thierry Henry gave a brutal assessment of his former side’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Europa League under Mikel Arteta. The Premier League side are not involved in European football this campaign for the first time in 26 years, and Henry does not believe they will rectify that for next term.
After a poor start to the season the Gunners have improved of late, with four wins in September earning Arteta the top flight’s Manager of the Month award.
Monday’s 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace extended their unbeaten Premier League run to five games – although it was only thanks to a last-gasp equaliser from Alexandre Lacazette that Arsenal avoided defeat.
Arteta’s side had made a bright start to the game with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s early opener, but faded badly and conceded two second-half goals before substitute Lacazette saved their blushes.
And Henry said he did not think the Gunners would qualify for Europe next season based on recent performances.
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The former Barcelona and Juventus star was on the panel for CBS Sports’ Champions League show along with fellow pundits Jamie Carragher and Micah Richards.
And as they fielded quickfire questions, the trio were each asked whether they thought Arsenal would finish in the European places.
Richards and Carragher both felt Arteta’s side would qualify for the Europa League – but Henry disagreed.
“No,” said the Invincibles hero. “Not with what I saw recently.”
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Henry publicly backed Daniel Ek’s takeover bid of Arsenal earlier this year.
The Spotify co-founder had tabled a bid of £1.8billion to buy the north London club – but that offer was rebuffed by current owner Stan Kroenke.
Ek is still apparently keen to buy Arsenal and regularly attends matches at the Etihad Stadium.
Henry and Ek watched as Arsenal defeated Tottenham 3-1 in the north London derby last month.
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Arsenal are currently 12th in the Premier League after draws against Palace and Brighton followed wins over Spurs, Burnley and Norwich.
They are just four points behind Tottenham in fifth place, which is the only guaranteed Europa League spot through league position.
While the Europa League is often derided, it does offer the carrot of a Champions League place for the winners.
Arsenal could of course qualify for the Europa League by winning the FA Cup, while there is also the option of the new Europa Conference, in which Tottenham are competing this season.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side are away to Vitesse in their next group game on Thursday, while Arsenal are back in action with a home game against Aston Villa in the Premier League on Friday.
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