Ian Wright agrees with Mikel Arteta and believes missing out on Champions League qualification shouldn’t render Arsenal’s season a failure.
The Gunners were in pole position to cement fourth place as recently as 10 days ago, but consecutive defeats against Spurs and Newcastle has put a different complexion on their campaign.
Arsenal still retain remote hope of finishing above their rivals but must beat Everton on the final day and hope for an unlikely favour from already relegated Norwich who host Antonio Conte’s side at Carrow Road.
Arteta was at pains on Friday to put a positive spin on a season which has seen the Premier League’s youngest side raise optimism at a club that was in the doldrums back in August following three straight losses.
Wright concurred with the club’s manager and believes a lack of big-game experience ultimately cost Arsenal’s callow squad.
He told Premier League Productions: ‘It’s progress. At the start of the season no Arsenal fan would have had them in the top four at this stage.
‘You get in there and you raise the hopes of the people. With a young inexperienced team they will be inconsistent. It’s twice now where we’ve had results where they’ve lost three on the spin.
‘I said if Arsenal can finish sixth because they finished eighth last season and eighth the previous season as well that is good progress and steady progress.
‘This season gave people a little look into what it might have been like to finish fourth and what market they could shop in.
‘They flew close to the sun and the fans went with them with their eyes wide open. What we’ve seen that when right when it really matters the players didn’t respond in a pressurised situation.
‘Against Newcastle and Tottenham it just didn’t happen and you have to say this is where we are. It was disappointment but not failure.’