Michael Owen: Arsenal 'punching exactly their weight' - Is he right?

Michael Owen

Former Liverpool and United star Michael Owen does not believe that Arsenal are under performing.

This season has seen many a player, fan and pundit take a pop at Arsenal - and one who is constantly having that accusation leveled at him is Michael Owen.

The former Liverpool and Manchester United star has found himself in trouble with the Arsenal faithful on more than one occasion this season. From the very beginning when he predicted that The Gunners would finish fifth he was laid into by Gunners fans.

The abuse intensified as the season went on - and Arsenal impressed, sitting at the top of the table for many weeks.

But Owen remained unmoved - and stuck by his prediction - a prediction that might just come true.

Everton are now charging up behind Arsene Wenger’s outfit and are looking likely to overtake them this weekend as they catch up their game in hand while Arsenal feature in the FA Cup semi-final.

Indeed - by late this evening Arsenal could be in a cup final, but out of the top four.

But for Owen he does not see that as a problem - to use a golf analogy that would seem about par considering their current team.

He has told Goal.com about his feelings on Arsenal this morning, stating:

"I don't go along with them not having a good mentality. I think they do and they're doing exactly what they should be doing at the moment. They're about the fourth or fifth best team in the Premier League and that's exactly where they're going to finish up. If they get fourth and win the cup it will be a good season for them. They're punching exactly their weight and they've got a great chance to win the FA Cup. They just need to seize the moment."

The problem is Arsenal have got used to the Wenger era being one of success - but the last decade has been thrifty.

They have let big names go and win titles elsewhere while only a small handful of the players Wenger has entrusted have come good.

Injury problems have ravaged young stars such as Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby. When Wenger has spent big the players he has brought in have not done the business enough - Andrei Arshavin and Mesut Ozil cases in point.

The team they have now? It is hard to say that man-for-man, player-for-player, they are a better team than Everton or any of the other teams in the top seven right now.

If Arsenal finish fourth and win the FA Cup that should be treated as a very successful season for a team ravaged by injury issues and struggling to regain their identity as a swashbuckling take-no-prisoners outfit.

This is not the Arsenal of old, it is the Arsenal of now - and as Owen says, they are punching at their weight right now.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch