Arsenal legend David Seaman believes missing out on qualifying for the Champions League could be a blessing in disguise.
Despite a poor start to last season, Mikel Arteta’s side looked to be heading to qualification for Europe’s top competition after an impressive run that left them fourth with three games to play, four points ahead of then fifth-placed Tottenham.
However, after losing two of those final three matches, including a 3-0 thumping away at Spurs, they were pipped to fourth place by their north London rivals.
Seaman has spoken on the heartbreaking end to their season, telling Stats Perform:
“The worst part about it is that Tottenham took it off us.
“Because it’s Tottenham, and what went on last season, we were bottom of the league (at the end of August 2021), they were top, it went to an international break, so they were top for two weeks we were bottom. That made it worse (laughing).
“Then the fact that they’ve taken the Champions League spot. But you don’t keep focusing on the negatives, you’ve got to be positive about it.
“You’ve got to keep learning you’ve got to get better. And that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
The Gunners have been active in the transfer market ahead of the new season, bringing in the duo of striker Gabriel Jesus and the versatile Oleksandr Zinchenko from Premier League champions Manchester City.
Attacking midfielder Fabio Vieira also arrived from Porto in a deal worth an initial £ 30 million (€35m) with a further £4.2m (€5m) in add-ons, while forward Eddie Nketiah signed a new contract after scoring five goals in Arsenal’s last seven league games.
And Seaman spoke of his belief that despite the disappointment of missing out on Champions League qualification, the Europa League may be a more attainable trophy anyway.
“It was an improvement. We finished eighth twice,” he said. “A lot of people just go to the negative straight away, saying we threw the Champions League away.
“But even when we were in the top four positions, we were like, ‘Whoa, we are overachieving here.’
“The fact that we finished fifth, and now in the Europa League is still a really good positive.
“I think, for me, we’re more equipped to win the Europa League than we are the Champions League. We’ve got a more realistic chance of winning that. So it’s all about being positive and progressing.
“And that’s what’s happening. We’re getting better and better. The young players are getting experience, and it leads to a good future for Arsenal.”
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