Roy Keane, a former midfielder for Manchester United, has attacked Arsenal for last season’s collapse that allowed Tottenham to sneak into the Champions League.
Prior to a string of disappointing performances, the Gunners were in prime position to finish in the top four. Their aspirations were effectively dashed by a series of defeats in April against Crystal Palace, Brighton, and Southampton.
In May, Spurs’ 3-0 victory over Arsenal reduced their deficit to one point, but Spurs had to wait until the last day to clinch fourth place with a victory at Norwich.
In an apparent jab at Mikel Arteta’s team, Keane claimed that Tottenham manager Antonio Conte received “helping hand” in order to place fourth in his first season with the team.
In an interview with SkyBet, Micah Richards and Graeme Souness discussed Manchester City’s potential title rivals.
“Liverpool and Man City are too good,” Richards said. “Spurs? They might get top four again but I don’t think they’re on the same level. He [Conte] is a serial winner and I think he will win something, Conte, I really do, what he’s done since he came in is really incredible.”
“I think Spurs have a determination and doggedness about them,” said Souness, via The Express. “Which I haven’t seen in them since the early days of [Mauricio] Pochettino.”
Arsenal and Keane fight
When asked if he had a problem with Arsenal, Roy Keane avoided using the word “beef,” but he was critical of how Arsenal lost the Champions League position to Tottenham with only a few games remaining.
He stated: “They blew it at the end. They got themselves in a great position, as brilliant as Spurs done, Arsenal had it in their hands and they blew it.”
This summer, Arteta expanded his roster by bringing in Marquinhos, Fabio Vieira, Gabriel Jesus, and Matt Turner. Richarlison, Yves Bissouma, Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet, and Fraser Forster have all been added by Conte.
And it appears like the two North London rivals will square off once more for a spot in the top four the following season.
Then, Newcastle United easily defeated them 2-0 at St. James’ Park, giving Spurs the lead going into the final day. Even though Arsenal came back to defeat Everton 5-1, it wasn’t enough to guarantee them a position in the Champions League.
It also serves as a warning for the following season. Arteta’s club cannot afford to be complacent if it comes down to the wire because Arsenal and Spurs are likely to compete for a Champions League position once more.
Increasing the squad’s depth significantly is one strategy to combat that. They have so far brought in Marquinhos, Matt Turner, Fabio Vieira, and Gabriel Jesus, but more players are needed if they are to close the gap between themselves and the best Premier League teams.
Roy Keane, who is he?
Roy Maurice Keane, an Irish football analyst, manager, and former player, was born on August 10, 1971. With 19 major titles in his club career—17 of them while playing for English club Manchester United—he is one of the most accomplished Irish footballers of all time.
He was ranked among the top midfielders of his time and included in Pelé’s FIFA 100 list of the top 100 active players in the world in 2004.
He was voted No. 11 on The Times’ list of the 50 “hardest” football players in history in 2007. In 2021, Keane was enshrined in the Premier League Hall of Fame.
Before concluding his 18-year playing career at Celtic, Keane played for Cobh Ramblers, Nottingham Forest, and Manchester United. As a commanding box-to-box midfielder for Manchester United from 1997 until his departure in 2005, he was known for his combative and fiercely competitive style of play. With this mentality, he excelled in his role as captain.