RIO FERDINAND believes Arsenal are ‘not consistent enough’ to qualify for the Champions League.
And the former defender highlighted the club’s lack of goals as a key problem.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners currently sit fifth in the Premier League table going into the weekend, a point behind West Ham with two games in hand.
But they do not play because Chelsea are at the Club World Cup.
That means the Gunners will be unable to add to their tally of just TWO goals in 2022.
Bukayo Saka struck at Manchester City on New Year’s Day and Gabriel grabbed the winner at Wolves on Thursday.
And Ferdinand reckons that will be their downfall come May in their pursuit of a top-four finish.
The Manchester United legend told BT Sport: “Goals. Aubameyang has gone, not that he was banging them in when he was there, but he was a big player, the captain.
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“I like Mikel Arteta and what he’s trying to do there.
“Arsenal, great history, but in recent years, they have not shown you anything that will convince you that they’re going to be consistent enough to get into the top four.”
Emile Smith Rowe is Arsenal’s top scorer in the league this term on eight, followed by Saka who has six.
Ex-captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was tied-third on four but left for Barcelona on a free transfer on deadline day.
That left just Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah as recognised centre-forwards at Arteta’s disposal.
Laca, who has taken the armband, has three Premier League goals this term but Nketiah is still on zero – with all five of his efforts coming in the Carabao Cup.
Arsenal can go away to big places now and fight
Michael Owen, however, thinks there are plenty of reasons for optimism at the Emirates.
Owen added: “This is the most positive I’d be if I was an Arsenal fan for a long time.
“They are lacking a few good players, but they [vs Wolves] looked like they can go away to big places now and fight it out a bit more.
“They got bullied a lot of times.
“If you watched them at the start of the season – I was there against Brentford and it was the Arsenal of the last few years.
“But now they have a bit of steel about them.”
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