Kevin Phillips has dismissed Arsenal’s chances of finishing in the top-six of the Premier League this season but says they may climb to ‘seventh of eighth’ if they bolster Mikel Arteta’s squad in January.
After 13 games of the 2020-21 campaign, the Gunners are just 15th in the Premier League table, 14 points behind leaders Liverpool and two places above the relegation zone.
Arsenal had lost four straight games before drawing to Southampton on Wednesday night and Phillips has questioned the club’s ‘identity’ under Arteta.
Phillips, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on West Brom v Aston Villa, said: ‘Realistically I don’t see them finishing in the top six, obviously.
‘They might make seventh or eighth if they add a couple of players in January and go on a decent little run.
‘But certainly for me at this precise moment looking at how fragile they are, I don’t see them anywhere near the top six.
‘It might end up being a case of them not doing so well in the Premier League but having a good run in Europa League and all of a sudden the players are gearing themselves up for winning that.
‘For me it’s just crazy that we’re talking about Arsenal in this way.’
Former England striker Philipps also slammed Arsenal record signing Nicolas Pepe and Gunners outcast Mesut Ozil.
Pepe has largely underwhelming since arriving in the Premier League, while Ozil has not featured for Arsenal this season after being left out of Arteta’s squad.
He said: ‘The types of players that have been brought in haven’t settled; they haven’t performed as fans would have expected.
‘When Nicolas Pepe came in everyone thought, “yeah this kid could do something” and he hasn’t done anything.
‘Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s form has obviously hit a dip and I think defensively they’ve struggled to find that solid formation – and they’re nowhere near the level of players I used to grow up watching.
‘I’m just not sure at the moment what Arsenal’s identity is. I don’t know how they want to play.
‘I don’t see what they’re trying to achieve at the moment if I’m being completely honest.’
Phillips added: ‘If you asked me to describe him in one word I’d have to say disappointing. Should he be at the club still? No.
‘He should have moved on and freed up that wage bill to allow someone else to come in. But there is still a player in there.
‘His time at Arsenal is up, though. He wants to stay and see his contract out which I’m not surprised about because of the amount of money he’s on. He’s not daft.
‘But for both parties I’d like to see him move on. It doesn’t help when you’re trying to build something as a manager but you’ve got a situation like Ozil.’