The Gunners have made a decent start to the season but that hasn’t stopped the former England striker from picking apart their Champions League aspirations, the minimum expectation at the Emirates this season.
There has been talk over whether Arsenal can maintain a title challenge throughout the season but considering Arsene Wenger’s record of 15 consecutive top four finishes at the club, they should be confident of at least fourth place.
“From the start I had my reservations. They seemed not to be spending but then came up with one big investment right at the end of the transfer window. When I look at a squad I see a decent collection of players but not a top-four operation,” said Owen.
If anything, Arsenal’s top four challenge is only going to get stronger as the season goes on.
The Gunners are suffering from a very long and severe injury list at the moment but the good news is that means several top quality players are gradually going to return to fitness, coming back into the side and making Arsenal stronger.
Santi Cazorla, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski, Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott are some of the higher profile absentees at the moment, who will all make Arsenal a formidable unit when they’re stronger.
Arsenal also have the winter transfer window where they will be able to strengthen with a reported £50 million available to Wenger during the winter window.
“In defence, Arsenal are decent, but again none of their back four would make a composite Premier League XI - with a view to picking an all-star side from the top six clubs, I would struggle to nominate one Arsenal player. Mesut Ozil is the only one,” added Owen.
There are areas for concern in the current squad such as the back up striker position and defensive cover to ensure the Gunners maintain their impressive recent back four record.
It’s the same theory as players coming back from injury but new signings will add quality and depth to the Arsenal squad, which means if they’re in the fight for a top for place by New Year, it’s unlikely their challenge is going to slide away.
Owen also seems to have dismissed any chances Arsenal have of success in Europe this season, with the Champions League offering a route back into the competition for next season.
If Arsenal can keep players fit when they return, add well and play well, there is a slim chance they could pull off a European victory which would subsequently render a top four place irrelevant even though Arsenal should make it into the top four comfortably.
What do you make of Owen’s comments?
image: © michael hilton