Newcastle will be a ‘big problem’ for Arsenal, claims Jamie Carragher

Jamie Carragher thinks Newcastle’s upwards trajectory could be a problem for Arsenal

Jamie Carragher believes that Newcastle could pose a “big problem” for Arsenal, tipping Eddie Howe’s side to soon challenge for the Champions League places.

Powered by significant spending in January after the completion of the Saudi-backed takeover of the club, Newcastle enjoyed a strong end to the Premier League season, climbing out of a relegation battle to eventually finish 11th.

The summer transfer window is likely to provide opportunity for further recruitment as Howe plots continued growth at St James’ Park.

Arsenal faded in the final weeks of the season to lose out on Champions League qualification to Tottenham, losing two of their final three games to allow their North London rivals to steal fourth spot.

And Carragher feels that Newcastle may soon be in the mix to contend for European places, which could be bad news for an ambitious Arsenal under Mikel Arteta.

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Carragher said on The Overlap about Newcastle’s season: “You think about how bad the first half of the season was and then they’ve brought players in in January – and let’s not kid ourselves or criticise Newcastle and say ‘they’ve spent £100m’.

“They’ve bought players who are just decent Premier League players, let’s not get carried away. Trippier and Guimares are probably players for the future. The rest of them are players you’d expect to be near the bottom.

“We’re talking if they have a proper season from the start. You think of the players they’ve got now, what they’re going to bring to it and they finished 11th, we’re probably expecting them to finish eighth. Can they challenge Europa League positions?

“I think they’re a big problem for the likes of Arsenal, the next two or three years getting into the Champions League. The players they’re going to be going for, that gap is going to get closed.”

Arsenal will play in the Europa League next season having been without European football in 2021-22.

It was against Newcastle in their penultimate fixture that Arteta’s side lost control of fourth spot, producing a flat performance to leave Spurs only needing a point against relegated Norwich on the final day to be sure of finishing fourth.

Carragher wonders if the missed opportunity to get into the Champions League will be viewed as particularly costly in retrospect for Arteta, who signed an extended contract at the start of May.

“I wanted Arsenal to get top four because I like what Mikel Arteta has done,” Carragher explained. “I actually think he’s done a really good job I really do believe that, and I love the young players that they’ve got.

“But Mikel Arteta right now – even though he’s done a good job – is not at the level of Conte, Tuchel, Klopp and Guardiola.

“And I think that opportunity in that game at Newcastle, I believe that will be a game that Arsenal fans look back on and think, ‘That was where it went wrong for Mikel Arteta’.

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“When you say about bringing people in and it being a building process, I get that, but Arsenal will have less money now, that top four will have more money, and I just think that was a massive opportunity with having no European football, that was a big advantage this season, they now have to play Thursday-Sunday.

“I don’t see how Arsenal get Champions League [next season]. There’s no way at the start of next season, whoever they bring in, that I would even think Arsenal would be close to the top four. I may be proven wrong.”

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