Robert Huth predicts where Arsenal, Chelsea FC will finish this season
Robert Huth feels that Arsenal will make it into the top four this season and tips Chelsea FC to miss out
Robert Huth is tipping Arsenal to “sneak” into the Premier League’s top four this season, declaring that it’s “now or never” for Mikel Arteta’s side.
The north London side came painfully close to securing a fourth-placed finish last term, only for them to unravel in the closing stages of the season and end up two points behind their bitter local rivals Tottenham, who secured a spot in the Champions League at the Gunners’ expense.
The Gunners claimed a thrilling 3-1 victory over Tottenham in Saturday’s north London derby clash at The Emirates to keep their place at the top of the table and move four points ahead of their neighbours.
Arsenal have not finished in the Premier League’s top four since Arsene Wenger was still in charge at the club – in the 2015-16 campaign when they ended up second behind champions Leicester City.
However, former Chelsea FC defender Huth feels that the Gunners are making clear progress under Mikel Arteta and he feels that the north Londoners will have enough to claim a top-four spot and with it a return to the Champions League.
And Huth is also tipping Tottenham to make it into the top four under Antonio Conte for the second season running.
“I think Arsenal need to finish in the top four,” Huth is quoted as saying by Metro. “With the money they’ve invested in the team and the time they’ve given Mikel Arteta, you’d have to say it would be a bit of a failure if they didn’t make it this season.
“It’s really now or never, for me. It’s Arteta’s third year, he’s brought in Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko who have massively improved the team.
“In the past, they’ve fallen short with a few games to go, but this year I think they’ll sneak in. They’ve got that real grit, the kind of grit I’ve not seen at that club for a while now.
“It’s great to see. Arteta’s always on the touchline, fighting every ball and it really translates to the team.
“When it’s been tough, they’ve dug each other out, and of course it’s going to get tougher and they’re going to have down days; no one is expecting them to play the perfect season. But so far in the aftermath of those downs, they’ve performed to a really good standard.
“You can only go off what we’ve seen so far, and for me I think Arsenal will sneak into that top four with Tottenham, Liverpool and obviously Manchester City.”
The former Germany international was initially tipping Chelsea FC to be one of the main contenders for a top-four finish – but the Blues’ decision to sack Thomas Tuchel and bring in Graham Potter has forced him to reconsider his view, and he now expects the south west Londoners to miss out on a Champions League spot.
“My opinion on this year’s top four has all changed with the sacking of Thomas Tuchel,” he said of Chelsea, who were 2-1 winners at Crystal Palace on Saturday. “I was expecting Chelsea to be right up there, especially after the recruitment they did in the summer. But now I just don’t see them doing it.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal are set to be without midfielder Emile Smith Rowe until December after he underwent surgery to repair a tendon in his groin.
Smith Rowe – who has only made four substitute appearances in the Premier League this term – had been struggling with the issue for a number of months and Gunners boss Arteta has revealed why the club opted for the midfielder to undergo the procedure last week.
“We put all the alternatives on the table and the thing is we have tried some others during the last few months and they haven’t really worked to the point the player wasn’t comfortable and consistently at his best to perform,” said Arteta.
“We decided to take that route and that it was the best decision. We had to make a decision because we could not continue the uncertainty as to whether we have him, or have him with certain conditions.
“We needed to draw a line so we made that decision and he was the first one demanding that he wanted to make the decision and we supported that, and we have to prepare him to get back stronger than he was.”