Nicholas ‘still unconvinced’ by Arsenal’s title credentials

Date published: Wednesday 30th November 2016 1:29

Charlie Nicholas has insisted that Arsenal have ‘no excuses’ for not winning a title since 2004, and claims they could be one of the strongest sides in Europe.

However, the former Scotland international does believe that the Gunners will finish above North London rivals Tottenham again.

Nicholas also claims the Premier League is tight, and Arsenal have all the ingredients to mount a challenge.

“I sense there are a lot of neutrals who would like to see Arsenal win the title again, but I’m still unconvinced – we’ve been here so many times before. If you break down the squads of all the top teams in Europe, Arsenal could be one of the strongest in terms of personnel and depth.

“City are strong, Chelsea are strong, Liverpool and Tottenham are getting stronger – but if you put their strongest teams on the park, do they have as much cover as Arsenal in every position?

“The ingredients are there, but Arsenal are running out of excuses to turn them into a formula for winning the major trophies. There is no reason why they can’t do it.”

Nicholas also referenced the troubles Arsenal are having in getting key players to commit to the club long-term.

“They are looking at tying down Ozil and Sanchez on long contracts, which is massively important, and that would be a big statement of intent.

“But there is no reason why Arsenal can’t pay top dollar for their best players now because the Emirates Stadium is paid-for and they are not so constrained by finance.

“It’s time for the players to deliver – if they don’t, they will come under pressure from the fans and so, I’m afraid, will the manager.”

 

Missing pieces

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The former Celtic man claims the team is not yet complete, but that the North Londoners are on their way to overcoming their usual November blues.

“I think they are still a bit soft at the back and I’m not sure if Arsene knows his best combination of holding midfielders.

“On the bright side, they have come through November – a month where they have struggled in the past – only three points off the top despite playing without real fluency. At least they are managing to draw games where they don’t play well.

Can Spurs finally finish above their rivals Arsenal? Nicholas does not think this year is the year.

“And I think they will finish above Tottenham again – in fact, the best four teams I’ve seen this season in the Premier League are the current top four, not necessarily in the same order.

“But they lost against Liverpool, they were poor against Manchester United, they only drew with Tottenham and they were brilliant against Chelsea, which means they have only beaten one of their major rivals at the top so far, which is a concern.

“When they go to Manchester City a week before Christmas, it is going to be a massive test as well as a big moment in the title race.”

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