'Emery isn't at Arsenal to finish fifth' - Keown feels Man City scalp is possible

Unai Emery Arsenal
The Gunners have missed out on Champions League qualification in each of the last two seasons, but have now moved on from the Arsene Wenger era

New Arsenal boss Unai Emery is “not here to finish fifth” says Martin Keown, with the Spaniard capable of overseeing a flying start to the season against Manchester City.

After 22 years under the guidance of Arsene Wenger, a new era has been opened at Emirates Stadium.

Another experienced tactician has inherited the managerial reins, with trust being placed in the coaching ability of former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain boss Emery.

He is being charged with the task of improving fortunes in north London, as Arsenal enter a second season without Champions League football, and Keown believes there is cause for optimism.

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The former Gunners defender told the Daily Mail: “It may be all change but there will always be expectation.

“Unai Emery is a successful manager who is not here to finish fifth. I’m not saying they are ready for a title challenge but the top four has to be the objective.

“I’ve been impressed with Emery. He has worked his players hard in pre-season.

“Arsenal’s away form was embarrassing but they will have a better balance this year. They have a warrior in Sokratis while Lucas Torreira can bring bite to the midfield.”

Lucas Torreira Arsenal

Arsenal have been handed the toughest of starts to their 2018-19 Premier League campaign, as they prepare to open things up against reigning champions Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking champions looked to be moving through the gears in a Community Shield victory over Chelsea, but Keown believes Arsenal can claim a notable scalp on home soil.

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He added: “Unlike their rivals, Arsenal only had one player in the World Cup semi-finals. City had seven.

“When they travel to the Emirates on Sunday the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling may be unavailable.

“Arsenal will not have a better chance to beat the all-conquering champions. Do so, and they could steal a march on their rivals.”