Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher says next season will be make or break for Arsenal.
Now a pundit for Sky Sports, Carragher thinks the time for Arsenal to celebrate finishing fourth should be banished from memory forever.
He says the Gunners are too huge a football institution to rejoice in relative mediocrity, and that anything less than a genuine title challenge next season should be considered failure at the Emirates.
“They've got to do a lot more than just reach the top four. Their aim has got to be to overtake Man United, Man City and Chelsea and make more of an impact at the top of the table,” Carragher said of the Gunners in his column for Sky Sports.
“I don't think there are any excuses now and I don't think there were before. Arsenal, the same as Liverpool, are a massive club.
“Arsenal have obviously done better than Liverpool in terms of the Champions League but I'm not talking about Arsenal winning the Champions League or the league, I'm saying in the last eight years you'd expect them to win an FA Cup or maybe a League Cup.
“It's been going on for so long now and it's been the same every year. They qualify for the Champions League and go out in the last 16 and fight to the end of the season to get in the top four. I'm sure the supporters would love to see them in Cup Finals and semi-finals. I think that's what they need to do.”
Carragher expects Arsenal to strengthen ahead of next season. He has great respect for the club’s refined manager, Arsene Wenger, who he labels “a master of the transfer market.”
But the gritty Scouser questions if Arsenal will be able to muster the mental fortitude to make them into real competitors.
As a football deep thinker who faced up to Arsenal as recently as last season, Carragher feels he knows where Arsenal have been falling short, and where they need to improve.
“You never really expected Arsenal to win the big games in the last few years and that's something that they've got to overcome as well,” he said.
“It is a lot more difficult for Arsenal than it has been in the past, but that's the modern game and they have to deal with it - and I'm sure they'll be looking to get big, strong powerful players into the team.
“That's what they need, especially in big games. At the moment you don't really expect Arsenal to go and win a big game.”