Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour has conceded that he doesn’t believe his old club are much better since Unai Emery took charge.
Arsene Wenger came under intense scrutiny and criticism in the latter stages of his tenure in north London, and fans perhaps believed that a change in manager would change their fortunes on the pitch.
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After failing to qualify for the Champions League last season, Arsenal will try again this year but the early signs are suggesting that they’re stumbling over the same old problems.
Fancied to beat Sheffield United on Monday night by many, the Gunners once again slipped up and failed to produce a performance as they missed out on the chance to move up to third spot in the Premier League table.
Instead, they are stuck in fifth, and although they’re still within range to surpass the likes of Chelsea and Leicester City, the defeat earlier this week has raised familiar question marks.
Parlour has now admitted that it’s not better than it was with Wenger in charge, but he’s adamant that Arsenal can still have what would be considered a great season if they break back into the top four.
“No, it’s not better (than when Wenger was in charge), but it is a real opportunity,” he told talkSPORT. “As I said before at the start of the season; if they come fourth, it’s a great season. Champions League football is the most important thing for Arsenal now going forward.
“If they come fifth or sixth this year it has been a failure again. Because they went into the transfer market and I think everyone was quite excited about the signings.
“They’re fifth at the moment and still have every chance of coming fourth so it was a poor result the other day.”
Having conceded 12 goals in nine games, which follows on from having the second worst defensive record of the top nine sides in the table last season, the defence remains a major issue for the Gunners.
If Emery can fix that while finding a balance to allow his attacking stars to flourish and go out and win games, then perhaps they’ll be a leading candidate for a top four spot once again.
Until then though, it seems as though Arsenal aren’t learning their lessons and have encountered the same problems which has led to many and not just Parlour questioning the lack of progress and improvement under Emery.
“I’d have taken a draw!” ?
“Finishing 5th or 6th would be failure as they went into the transfer market!”
“No, it’s not better [than under Wenger last season].” ?
“4th place would be a great season!” ?@RealRomfordPele isn’t panicking after #Arsenal’s loss in Sheffield. pic.twitter.com/C9awt0opak
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) October 23, 2019