Jermaine Jenas has said he does not feel there has been any improvement at Arsenal under Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal are facing the prospect of no European football next season after being knocked out of the Europa League at the semi-final stage by Villarreal, all but ending their chances of playing in continental competition in the 2021/22 campaign.
That’s because the Gunners sit ninth in the Premier League with just four games to play, 12 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea and seven behind north London rivals Tottenham in sixth.
As such, Arteta is facing questions over his future after a disappointing season for Arsenal, following on from winning the FA Cup last season.
And Jenas has delivered his verdict on where Arsenal are as a club and the crossroads they now face ahead of the summer.
“I think if you speak to most Arsenal fans they know exactly where they are and what their demise has been over the years, and it has been a gradual decline over a period of time that has got them to where they are now,” he said, speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live.
“There hasn’t been any improvement, if I’m being totally honest in the performances since [Mikel] Arteta took over, their league position tells you that quite clearly.
“But the question is what do you do? Do you sack the manager and bring someone in who you think will have a better playing style and get better out of the players he has.
“Or you are going to have heavily invest in this group of players, which I am not sure they can to be honest.
“They have players who have performed well on loan, players like Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock, and I am sure Arsenal fans will hope players like Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson will do well next season, but I don’t know where Arsenal will be next season, I really don’t.”
As for the Gunners’ performance against Villarreal, the former Tottenham midfielder was left confused by the display, adding that he felt former Arsenal boss Unai Emery won the tactical battle against Arteta.
“It was really hard to even pinpoint what Arsenal were doing at times,” he said of the second leg at the Emirates Stadium, which finished 0-0.
“I thought Villarreal got the better of them tactically, I thought they were a better side over both legs.
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“I thought Arsenal were fortunate to get the penalty in the first leg, but they were given that lifeline and I expected it all to come out in that game, I expected them to really put Villarreal under a lot of pressure for the whole of the game.
“I listened to Mikel Arteta, and from a managerial point of view, you can sympathise with his view that he may have had the players, but they weren’t at their best.
“But they weren’t up against a top, top side, they hardly laid a glove on Villarreal and I was as confused as most Arsenal fans at the end of that game as to what I saw.”