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Arsenal unlikely to return to Europe this season, but Arteta should have time, says Winterburn

The Gunners legend believes it would be difficult to sack the Spain head coach at this early stage in his tenure at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal is unlikely to return to Europe this season, but Mikel Arteta should have time to turn the club’s fortunes around, says Nigel Winterburn.

Arteta’s first year at the helm of Emirates Stadium has been a tubular year with success in the FA Cup and Community Shield undermined by a dismal start to the 2020-2021 campaign.

The Spaniard was to organize a return to the Champions League for Arsenal after delivering two domestic trophies but find themselves trying to get the club away from the relegation zone.

The Gunners have slipped to 15th in the Premier League table, having lost eight of their opening 15 games.

The North London outfit managed to end a seven-game winless streak by beating Chelsea 3-1 on Saturday, but Arteta is still under pressure as the new year approaches.

Arsenal are 15 points behind the league leaders Liverpool and ten behind fourth place Manchester United after playing one more match, with another match up for grabs the next to Brighton Tuesday evening.

Winterburn acknowledges Arteta could lose his job if the Gunners fail to string together a string of positive results over the next few weeks, but hopes the board will be patient with the Spaniard as he seeks to lead to well a long term project in the emirates.

“I never like to discuss the possibility of managers being sacked and who should replace them, but it does happen, of course it does,” the Arsenal legend said at the launch of the free fantasy football jackpot game . Fantasy5.

“From everything I’ve heard since the day Mikel Arteta entered the club, I’ve just heard some good things. It would be wrong of me to say: ‘I would like to see this guy come in’ if Arteta loses his job.

“You can bring in a manager who’s won a Champions League, he’s won league titles – but the only thing we’re interested in is, can he do that when it comes to Arsenal? We shouldn’t worry about his past … the past doesn’t really matter.

“I didn’t think of Arteta because I didn’t see it as a possible option. I would always love to see what Mikel Arteta can do and I would love to see it then.

“However, results are everything and once someone squeezes, puts the pressure on and one of the board members starts to panic, I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens.”

Asked if he thinks Arteta can get some silverware back in the second half of the season, Winterburn replied, “You can’t predict Arsenal will win anything in the form in which we are – it’s just ridiculous. You just can’t do that. They should be in sensational form in the league by the end of the season to even come back to Europe.

“We need to talk about the current form with the manager and the players who need to turn around quickly. Back-to-back wins will help them build confidence and confidence within the squad.

“There are still a lot of games to come. People keep talking about the race Europa League – I expected Arsenal to win these games. When it comes to the Premier League, it’s ruthless.

“You come up against strong opponents every week.”

The former Gunners defender went on to say that only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka would enter the teams he played for under George Graham and Arsene Wenger, and he doesn’t think the duo would have been regular starters.

“Who would I put it [Aubameyang] for? Would I put him in Ian Wright’s shoes? Would I put him in Thierry Henry’s place? I don’t think a lot of people would take this hit, ”added Winterburn.

“I had him on the team. I would have Bukayo Saka on the team for sure. There are probably two more.”


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