Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has revealed that he wished Arsenal had finished in fourth place in the Premier League table last season.
A place in the Champions League was on the line for Spurs during the north London derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in May when defeat for Antonio Conte’s side would have seen their rivals secure fourth.
A 3-0 win for Tottenham, followed by Arsenal’s capitulation at Newcastle United saw Spurs win at Norwich on the final day of the season to take the last Champions League qualification spot.
Carragher has suggested that he would have preferred to have seen Arsenal return to European football’s most prestigious club competition as a reward for the rebuilding work that Mikel Arteta has done in the 44-year-old’s opinion.
He told The Telegraph: “It was also essential Arsenal signed another left back in Oleksandr Zinchenko. Lack of cover for Keiran Tierney cost them the Champions League place last season,” he said.
“With respect to Tottenham Hotspur, I was disappointed when Arsenal did not do it last May because it would have been a fitting reward for how Arteta has gone about rebuilding the club – sticking to a plan with bold and occasionally contentious decisions which inflicted short-term pain in pursuit of long-term gain.
“There was a lot of debris to clear when Arteta took over at Arsenal, not unlike those who have been appointed at Manchester United over the last ten years.
“The clubs make for contrasting case studies in how best to recover their former standing.”
Arteta had a full season to rebuild his squad, whereas Antonio Conte had just one transfer window following his arrival in November.
Tottenham fully deserved their place in the top four after demolishing Arsenal in the derby and the reality is, that they never recovered from the atmosphere at the stadium that evening and folded once again at Newcastle.
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