Arsenal hero Ian Wright thinks the Gunners are lacking the ‘ruthlessness’ in front of goal needed to win the Champions League, while also naming his favourites for the competition.
Arsenal won four out of their six Champions League group stage matches to qualify in first place, ahead of PSV, Lens and Sevilla. They have a good chance of making the quarter-finals too, as they have been given a favourable draw against Porto.
Mikel Arteta is aiming to make history by becoming the first manager to win either the European Cup or Champions League with Arsenal. Arsene Wenger came closest in 2006, when his team was beaten 2-1 by Barcelona.
However, it will very tough for Arsenal to topple Europe’s biggest and best clubs on their route to Champions League glory.
Plenty of pundits have discussed Arsenal’s failure to take big chances. Arteta can rely on the likes of Gabriel Jesus, Kai Havertz and Eddie Nketiah to operate at centre-forward, but none of those players has the ability to net at least 20 goals per season.
Arsenal were heavily linked with Brentford’s Ivan Toney in the build up to the January window, as he would have solved that problem. However, the North London side opted to save money for a summer swoop instead.
While Arteta will benefit hugely from having Toney in his squad next term, Wright thinks Arsenal’s profligacy will likely stop them from winning the UCL. During an appearance on the Stick to Football podcast, Wright backed one of Arsenal’s rivals to go all the way.
“I think Man City are going to do it,” he said.
Ian Wright ‘would love’ Arsenal to end Champions League woes
Wright added (via Metro): “I’d love Arsenal to win it. If we got there in the final with City, I’d feel more confident.
“You’ve got to be more ruthless with the chances. You’ve got to see games off so that you can relax in games. At the moment, we’re not taking those chances even though in the end we won the game.
“If we could take those chances, I’d be more confident going to places because we’re defending a lot better.”
Arsenal, coincidentally, have been given a boost in their pursuit of Toney. On Wednesday, Brentford boss Thomas Frank admitted: “It is relatively obvious that Ivan Toney will probably be sold this summer.
“It can be ‘expensive’ to sell your best player, but conversely I also know that this summer he only has one year left on his contract with us.
“We also know what he is worth. I don’t think there are many strikers in the world who are better than him right now.”
The Bees are likely to demand between £80-100million for their talisman, who has netted two goals in three games since returning from a betting ban.
Arsenal travel to West Ham United in their next match, which will take place on Sunday at 14:00. The first leg of their Champions League clash with Porto is scheduled for Wednesday February 21 at 20:00.