Arsenal legend Liam Brady says the Gunners have no hope of finishing in the top four this season and must reconsider their priorities.
His comments come after Arsene Wenger’s side suffered a 2-1 defeat to Watford that left them sixth in the Premier League table.
The battle for a place among the Champions League qualification places looks incredibly tough this season and for Arsenal the best route to Europe’s elite competition could be winning the Europa League, thinks Brady.
‘I think it’s going to be a season where we won’t threaten to the top four, and I think it’s going to be a season where getting into the Champions League relies on the Europa League, where we would have a chance of winning it when we get into the latter stages and he [Wenger] puts his best team out,’ said the former Arsenal player and coach.
Manchester United took the Europa League path to the Champions League last season, proving it to be a viable option.
Explaining why he thinks Arsenal will fail to finish above fifth in the table, Brady said the Gunners appears to have problems facing physical, competitive sides.
‘I’ve watched Arsenal a lot this season and they were on a good run going up to Watford, but I still wasn’t confident because we were playing teams that we really didn’t have to do much to beat,’ he told The Stand podcast.
‘I’ve got major doubts about, every time we come against a team with character and strength, are we up for it. Can Arsenal cope with it?’
Arsenal 2017/18 fixtures
Red Star Belgrade (A) – Europa League – Thu 19 Oct
Everton (A) – Sun 22 Oct
Norwich – Carbao Cup (H) – Tue 24 Oct
Swansea (H) – Sat 28 Oct
Red Star Belgrade – Europa League (H) – Thurs 2 Nov
Man City (A) – Sun 5 Nov
Tottenham (H) – Sat 18 Nov
FC Koln (A) – Europa League (A) – Thu 23 Nov
Burnley (A) – Sun 26 Nov
Arsenal can boost their chances of Europa League glory this week by taking another step towards the knock-out phase of the competition. They boast a 100% start in their group and can virtually guarantee progress if they beat Red Star Belgrade on Thursday.