Rio Ferdinand has claimed that Arsenal are ‘bang in trouble’ if they lose one of Bukayo Saka or Emile Smith Rowe to injury.
The Gunners are currently the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season, with the advantage of having the best points-per-game of those outside the top three at present.
There is plenty of work to do however, with 15 league matches remaining to try and earn our spot in the top four, and Ferdinand is enjoying the race at present.
He says he was happy that all of Spurs, Man United and Arsenal all won this weekend to keep the race alive, but claims that our hopes stem on keeping both Bukayo and Emile fit for the remainder of the campaign.
“What I liked about this weekend is that all the teams going for fourth, bar West Ham, got positive results,” Ferdinand told his Vibe with Five YouTube channel.
“You’ve got to perform now. Spurs won a game you didn’t expect them to win, Arsenal won and United won. I think it’s going to be out of those three to finish fourth.
“West Ham will put up a fight but come up a bit short just because of the [lack of] depth in their squad… but they’ll finish above Arsenal.
“I think Saka and Smith Rowe, if anything happens to them they [Arsenal] are bang in trouble. ESR is doing his thing, I’ve loved him from the beginning of the season. I think he’s one other big clubs will be looking at.
“I think Mikel Arteta is building something there, all jokes aside. Mikel Arteta is creating an environment there that I feel players are going to want to play in.
“I feel the young players he’s got there who he’s building around are exciting. I think this window is going to be big for them, they’ve got to get it right, it depends where they finish and what type of player they’re going to have to go for.”
While I don’t doubt ESR’s importance to our side, the fact that he has found himself starting a number of matches on the bench in recent months refutes the claim by Rio, with Gabriel Martinelli thoroughly impressing in his place.
We clearly can cope without one of the pair if need be, although we would obviously prefer not to have to worry about such a scenario. I do agree that the feeling around the squad is a positive one, and that we do appear to be in an ideal place for young players to come in and thrive, and Arteta definitely deserves credit there.