During his 16 years as host of talkSPORT Drive, Adrian Durham hasn’t often had nice things to say about Arsenal.
That was until his final show, when he praised Gunners boss Mikel Arteta – and new signing Gabriel Jesus – but believes them not finishing in the top four this season would be a ‘failure’.
Arteta’s side rounded off their successful tour of America with a 4-0 win over divisional rivals Chelsea, which many put down to the uncertainty surrounding the Blues.
Durham insists that more credit should be given to the north Londoners.
But believes the amount of money they have spent over the last few years means Arteta now needs to deliver Champions League football.
“I think too much is being read into Chelsea and everything that’s going on with Chelsea after that performance,” Durham told talkSPORT. “Not enough is being said about Arsenal.
He added: “I’m coming off Drive so I think it’s about time I gave Arsenal some credit!”
“I did say last week that Gabriel Jesus is the signing of the summer and I stand by that as well.
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“I think if you look at his performance in that Chelsea game, it was assured. He doesn’t feel like he’s got anything to prove because he’s already proved it with club and country at Man City and with Brazil.
“He’s coming in already as a superstar, so this isn’t a player who’s going to sit around just soaking up money and taking the ‘you know what’.
“This is a player who’s coming in to lead, and that’s what Arsenal have needed.
“They’ve already got some really good young players. They made some good young signings last year who have blended in for a year and got used to everything.
“Now they’re making some good signings experienced players to add on to.
“All of a sudden, I’m looking at Arsenal and I’m going to flip it around here – with the amount of backing Arteta has had, and money-wise he’s had a lot of backing, they’ve been very patient with him.
“Abramovich would have sacked him about five or six times by now, so they’ve been very patient with Arteta, the fans have been patient with Arteta as well, so now it’s time for Arteta to deliver.
“He’s basically got away with letting a Champions League spot slip through his fingers at the end of last season, he’s got away with that.
“And, fair play, they’re giving him time, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But now it’s time for him to give back to the owners, to the players, and to the fans as well.
“He has to deliver top four. Realistically, I think Arsenal should be finishing third behind Liverpool and Man City.
“It doesn’t really matter if they finish third or fourth, but they have to finish in the top four. Otherwise, I think that is a failure.”
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