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Jamie Carragher Thinks One Player Cost Arsenal A Place In The Champions League

Daniel Marland

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Jamie Carragher Thinks One Player Cost Arsenal A Place In The Champions League

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports & Alamy

Jamie Carragher believes Arsenal 'probably' would have qualified for this season's Champions League if not for Nuno Tavares.

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The Gunners were on course for a first top four finish since 2016 heading into the final weeks of last season.

Mikel Arteta's men lost three on the bounce in April however and it allowed bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur to pip them to fourth.

Those defeats came to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton with young left-back Tavares starting in two of the three.

Tavares had a dismal game against Palace and was dropped for the Brighton clash, before returning to the side at St. Mary's.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

Carragher stressed that he doesn't enjoy digging individual players out but believes the 22-year-old, who joined Marseille on a season-long loan last week, 'cost' his side.

He told Sky Sports per Metro: "Nuno Tavares has gone out on loan, I saw. I think if they had a better left-back, then you probably would be in the top four now.

"I don’t like singling one player out, but I just think he cost you in certain games.

"I remember that game at Crystal Palace last season, it was on Monday Night Football and I said on TV: 'He has to come off at half-time'. I think he [Mikel Arteta] put Granit Xhaka at left-back in the end."

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

Arsenal will be playing Europa League football this season and have strengthened their squad.

Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko have arrived from Manchester City, while they've also completed the signings of Fabio Vieira, teenager Marquinhos and backup goalkeeper Matt Turner.

They remain interested in Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans and have reportedly enquired about West Ham United winger Jarrod Bowen.

Arsenal went unbeaten in pre-season and scored 20 goals across five games against Nurnberg, Everton, Orlando City, Chelsea and Sevilla.

Ironically, they start their Premier League campaign at Crystal Palace on Friday evening and Arteta insists his side are prepared.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

He explained: "We have shared the minutes across the team in the best possible way. We had another game on Wednesday at Colney, and everybody needs to fit, because things can still happen from here until Friday. Everybody needs to be available and at their best to give the right performance.

"We are really excited for the season. We know that Friday night is going to be a very different game, with a different context and atmosphere. We have to prepare really well for that."

Topics: Arsenal, Jamie Carragher, Premier League

Daniel Marland
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