Rob Holding urges Arsenal to view Chelsea as a ‘competitive rival’

Rob Holding has urged Arsenal to capitalise on their lack of European football this season (Getty)

Rob Holding believes Arsenal should view Chelsea as a ‘competitive rival’ despite the Gunners finishing behind Thomas Tuchel’s side last season.

Mikel Arteta’s men missed out on European football altogether after their eighth-placed finish in the Premier League last term.

Meanwhile, Chelsea were crowned Champions League winners, reached the FA Cup final where they were beaten by Leicester City, and managed to secure fourth place in the Premier League.

Arsenal finished just six points behind Chelsea last season and Holding is adamant that the gap between the two teams is not as significant as the table would suggest.

The Arsenal defender also believes that the lack of European football could help the Gunners finish higher in the Premier League.

‘I see Chelsea as a competitive rival for us,’ Holding said in an interview with The Guardian.

Chelsea capped an impressive finish to last season by winning the Champions League (UEFA via Getty)

‘I don’t see them as a team we aspire to be like, and I don’t think they see us that way either. There’s a mutual respect between us and a recent history with FA Cup finals and playing each other in big games.

‘I don’t think that, because they won the Champions League, we need to be more like Chelsea.

‘Our results and league position need to improve, of course, but when we play each other it’s competitive.

‘We’ve got to be aiming to get back in the Champions League.

‘With no Europe this season we’ve got no distractions or fixture congestion and can really focus on our Premier League games.

‘I think Liverpool did the same a few years ago, and Chelsea similarly when they won the league in Antonio Conte’s first year. So it can be a blessing in disguise in some aspects.

‘We’ve just got to think of it that way and hit the ground running.’

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