■ The former Arsenal midfielder on the Gunners’ prospects this season under Unai Emery
Have Arsenal run out of steam a little bit recently, with three straight draws in the league?
They have had a few draws lately but Wolves was the most disappointing one. Wolves were very good in the first half but last season or the season before, Arsenal would have lost that game. You have to take the positives, they kept going and got a point. That could be important come the end of the season.
Was it the right time for your old boss Arsene Wenger to leave as manager in the summer?
Yeah, absolutely. As much as I loved Arsene, there were 20,000 empty seats at the Emirates Stadium for every home match and that is rubbish. I don’t think the players were demanding performances from each other but Emery has really come in and made sure they do that again.
How’s Mesut Ozil faring under Unai Emery?
If he’s not playing well, Emery takes him off — something which wouldn’t have happened last season. It’s about playing well and keeping the standards of the team high now and Emery has got them all doing that.
Can the Gunners get back into the Champions League?
Top four would be a great season for Arsenal and I’m optimistic. The top three now (Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea) will be the top three at the end of the season but Arsenal are in a fight for fourth place with Tottenham and Manchester United. They have to believe they can do it.
Would it be a disappointment to miss out after 16 matches unbeaten to date?
As an Arsenal fan, I’m not too worried — I want to see progress. Everybody is behind the team and the players have responded to that. The club is more together again now. They needed to make the change, it was time.
Should Arsenal have tried harder to keep Aaron Ramsey?
Players have all the power these days but Arsenal do have to change their policy a little bit. They can’t let contracts run down like in the cases of Jack Wilshere, Samir Nasri and now Ramsey. Negotiations these days are not straightforward but I would love to keep him, I just don’t know how far off a deal is. It’d be sad to see him go.
It’s a big few weeks coming up for Arsenal. How big’s the derby with Spurs on December 2?
It’s massive for Arsenal, especially with Spurs coming up in the Carabao Cup later in December. That first trophy at a club is so important for a manager so Emery and Mauricio Pochettino will take the League Cup seriously I’m sure.
You’ve joined some fellow ex-pros in the online gameshow A Different Ball Game.
When I heard about the idea I thought, ‘I’ll give it a go and have a bit of fun’. I think the punters will love it and they’ll be on a level playing field with the likes of me, Dave Seaman and Robbie Fowler.
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