Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery has picked one player’s absence as the reason why they missed a Champions League spot last season.
In an exclusive interview with the Guardian, the Spaniard believes an injury suffered by Aaron Ramsey was the catalyst for Arsenal's failure to qualify for Europe’s premier club competition.
"The first season we did a lot well. I thought: ‘This is my team.’ People said: ‘Unai, we can see your personality on this side.’
"There was a spirit, games with intensity, energy-Tottenham, Manchester United, Chelsea-and we reached Arsenal’s first (European) final in 13 years, playing very well against Napoli and Valencia.
"Finishing third was in reach but we lost four decisive points against Crystal Palace and Brighton. (At first) things went magnificently; there was a good spirit in the dressing room.
"Ramsey’s injury, when he was at his best, had a big influence: he conveyed positivity, so much energy. And playing a lot of important games in April without him, we needed 100% implication from every player,” he said.
Ramsey season was cut short in April last year when he suffered a hamstring injury against Napoli in the Europa league; these happening as he entered the final days of his career at Arsenal.
Without the Wales International, Arsenal was convincingly beaten 4-1 by Chelsea in the Europa League final.