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misfiring Arsenal legend hints Mikel Arteta's time may be up at Arsenal after Europa League exit

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Mikel Arteta's Arsenal dream has hit rock bottom: John Walton/PA Wire.

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal dream has hit rock bottom: John Walton/PA Wire.

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal dream has hit rock bottom: John Walton/PA Wire.

Arsenal's miserable season will end without a trophy success to paper over the cracks after they crashed out of the Europa League after a 0-0 home draw against Villarreal, with pressure now certain to mount on manager Mikel Arteta.

The Gunners face a first season without European football in 25 years after drawing a blank in their Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal.

Arsenal were trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Spain and failed to overturn the deficit as Unai Emery got one over his former club to once again reach the final of a competition he thrives in.

A 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium means Arsenal’s hopes of playing in Europe next season rely on an unlikely string of results in the Premier League.

It is a grim story that led former Arsenal defender Martin Keown to suggest the time may have come for Arteta to be replaced, as he suggested his lack of experience has been exposed.

"It's a huge job at this football club," Keown told BT Sport. "His inexperience has perhaps cost him. He's still manager, but it felt this was the rescue package and his players didn't turn up. He was outsmarted by the previous manager which is a bit of an embarrassment.

"We looked lost. We couldn't get out and they made us nervy. We haven't really laid a glove on them and we haven't gone down fighting.

"They seemed almost prepared to let the game flow away and I think that does come from the manager.

"That decision (on Arteta's future) needs to be made. He's a young manager. It's not a given that you will be successful even if you come with a big reputation.

"You have to be a quick learner as a manager. I'm not saying he isn't going to be manager of the club, that's a decision that will be made through the summer.

"It will have to be an incredible start to next season if he is to stay in the job. He's under huge pressure now.

"Is there an appetite to keep him? We will have to see what happens but these performances can't continue. Big decisions to be made at the football club all-round at the moment."

Arsenal great Freddie Ljungberg joined Keown in questioning what happens next, as he stepped back from calling for Arteta to go.

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"I hope that this is the rock bottom and it can change from here. But it needs investment to ensure that," stated the former winger.

"It really, really hurts but I think there needs to be a change in how they invest into the club, and change the pattern that we get worse and worse every year."

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Arsenal came up short in the Europa League semi-final. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Arsenal came up short in the Europa League semi-final. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

Arsenal came up short in the Europa League semi-final. REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

For his part, Arteta admitted he was crushed by the defeat, as his side's season defining game ended in failure.

"We are devastated. Really disappointed," said the Spaniard. "We have to congratulate Villarreal. We tried everything until the last minute. I think we deserved to win the game but the details define these ties.

"We had three big chances, they didn't have anything but they are through. So many things happened to us, and so many players were just trying to compete not at their best.

"We didn't arrive here in the best moment with everyone in their best condition. For 90% of them it was their first semi-final and we have to learn."

"The only way to qualify (for Europe next season) is through the Premier League so we know what we have ahead of us. Today is a big disappointment because we tried everything."

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