Football Insights – Kevin Campbell
With the football season starting to wind down, former Arsenal and Everton striker Kevin Campbell talks exclusively to GentingBet about their seasons and what the respective clubs need to do to move them forward next season. You can also join Kevin and former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor as they preview all the midweek Premier League action including the big one between Arsenal and Liverpool.
Kevin Campbell On Arsenal
Will Sunday's North London derby result have an impact on the confidence in Arsenal's dressing room?
Arsenal’s loss in the North London derby is obviously a setback but I’m hoping there won’t be too much disappointment. They’ve got the Liverpool game and the FA Cup semi-final coming up so they’ll hurt for a bit and then they’ve got to dust themselves off and get going again.
I’m sure Arteta and some of the more experienced players will get the younger players on board and back in training and refocused.
Would you class Areteta's leadership so far as a success?
Arteta came into a difficult situation but there has been some initial success. It's a difficult situation, to define success by if you've won a trophy but I think the small battles he's won are important.
He's improved the players, integrated some of the youngsters into the squad more successfully and the youngsters have responded to his coaching and to the message he sends out. Ultimately, his success is going to be judged on how Arsenal finish the season and how far they get in the FA Cup. So in that respect, yes it has had a level of success for sure.
How do you compare Areteta's first season in charge at Arsenal, to Mourinho's first season in charge at Tottenham?
Arsenal and Tottenham are different clubs and different situations, but each have their challenges. Mourinho went in Spurs as they had just come runners up in the Champions League, so you have to consider what their squad has achieved in the past few years.
Arteta came into Arsenal halfway through the season and he’s made a good impact so far but the restart meant he had to rejig what he’s doing. The season has been elongated and we’ve seen Arsenal perform badly of late and then they had their four game run and now there’s another challenge to find out where the club will finish in the Premier League and where Arteta’s leadership will take the team.
It’s still a process and fans are still seeing how the regime will work out under Arteta but I truly believe that Arteta needs to get into the transfer window and start moving and shaking.
After Stan Kroenke's cash injection, where do Arsenal need to strengthen their squad in the transfer window?
Arsenal need 4 or 5 players across the board. They need centre-halves, I can see them going for one or two players in that position. They also need central midfielders, and more energy across the midfield and either another striker or a wide player.
Is there any player who you'd like to see play for Arsenal?
I could see three players coming to Arsenal, dependent on recruitment and transfer budget – I’m not sure what’s going to happen and I’m not sure who Arteta is looking at. I could take Thomas Partey in midfield, from Atletico Madrid and Adrien Rabiot from Juventus. I’d love to see Kalidou Koulibaly (from Napoli) at the back as Arsenal struggle with quick forwards and Koulibaly is quick and an excellent defender.
That’s the position, especially after the North London derby, where we need someone who can cover ground pretty well.
Who would you say is your player of the season so far?
Bernd Leno was doing a great job before he got injured. However, Aubameyang is still the top goalscoreer at the club, so I’d possibly say Aubameyang. Arsenal’s season has been a bit too separated so there’s been no real clear winner but where would Arsenal be without Aubameyang?
How can Arsenal get back to competing for a top 6 position?
Arsenal have got to address those weak points. The defence has been an Achilles heel for Arsenal for years now and it's never really been addressed.
This is especially true for the centre back position where, we've seen David Luiz, Mustafi and Kolašinac all make so many mistakes. These are all players who shouldn't be making those mistakes, they're seasoned professionals. Different personalities are needed to combat that issue and I think that that's the key area for improvement.
How impressed have you been with Bukayo Saka after his recent performances?
I've been impressed with Bukayo Saka ever since I first saw him play to be honest. He's got big talent and is an old head on young shoulders. He's not overawed by any game and he's got a lot of quality. He’s got a great left foot he has balance, he's very unselfish and creates a lot of opportunities that he's not willing to put on a plate for a striker.
He has really impressed me a hell of a lot this season and hands down, I think he is Arsenal’s young player of the season.
What do you make of Matteo Guendouzi training alone? Do you think he will leave the club this summer?
I think that Guendouzi will leave the club this summer. Arteta has come in he's set a lot of disciplinary rules down.
Guendouzi has fallen foul of those rules. I don’t think he’s the type of player who is going to knuckle down and that’s why he’s training alone. The writing is on the wall on this one, and I can't see him coming back into the fold unless he changes his attitude.
Kevin Campbell On Everton
How would you sum up Ancelotti's contribution to Everton so far?
Ancelotti has only been at Everton half a season with lockdown but Everton have had both good and bad results – so it’s nothing more than expected. Ancelotti is similar to Arteta in that he will want to get into the transfer window and start shaping the squad into his own. He can see that for Everton, the midfield just doesn’t seem to be able to function in the proper way, which is the worrying part for Evertonians.
There’s an injury crisis at the back too, which is worrying. Everything stems from the ‘engine room’ and if you haven't got an engine room that can compete you're putting extra pressure on the defence and the defence just hasn't been able to hold up.
In turn that puts extra pressure on the strikers, because they end up having to scoring two or three goals to keep you in the game, so that midfield has to be addressed.
What will it take for Everton to compete for trophies again?
Ancelotti is going to have to be ruthless to get Everton competing again, and I think he will be. The same players have been on the same cycle and you’d be crazy to say that you can trust the players to get it right.
In the transfer window, something has to be done with new personnel put in the midfield to lighten it up. If there’s not a midfield to protect the back four, then you can’t really challenge the top six which is what needs to be done.
What signings do Everton need to make?
Centre backs need to come into the club, and potentially another right back as somebody who could challenge Seamus Coleman. I think the club also needs an experienced striker to come in and add depth at the top end of the pitch.
Richarlison is doing a great job with Calvert Lewin but I think Richarlison will better coming from wide as he matures. This would mean you could add more goals coming from out wide and then you could add another striker to give maybe 15-20 goals per season and there’s a good opportunity with Everton to get more goals.
Everton look to be interested in Lille forward, Victor Osimhen, do you think he'd be a good addition to the club?
Victor Osimhen would be a great addition to the club. He scores goals, he’s lively and he’s a good player. Anyone who can add goals and quality to that Everton team must be a serious candidate to be recruited. I’ve seen videos of him and I think he’d go down well at Everton.