ARSENAL will have a difficult job breaking into the Premier League top four this season.
Arsenal newsL Unai Emery has had a difficult start to life at the Emirates
That’s the view of the Gunners’ record appearance maker David O’Leary, who says that their rivals are no worse off than they were last season.
Arsenal have failed to finish in the top four for the last two seasons after doing so for the previous 20 under Arsene Wenger.
The club finished sixth in the Frenchman’s last campaign at the Emirates and were way off the pace throughout.
The north London outfit finished some 15 points short of Liverpool in fourth place and 37 points behind runaway champions Manchester City.
Manchester United and Tottenham joined them in the top four while Chelsea finished fifth, seven points above Arsenal.
And O’Leary reckons those sides have not declined over the summer, which makes Unai Emery’s task a difficult one.
“I look at the five teams that finished ahead of us, I don’t think they’ve got any worse,” O’Leary told Goal.
“I think it was going to be a tough job for whoever was going to come in here.
Arsenal were some way off the pace last season as Man City stormed to the title
“If this manager gets into the top four, I think it’s been a great achievement.”
Emery was able to bring in some reinforcements in the summer as he looks to shape his squad with players that he feels are capable of playing his way.
The former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain manager is known for his high pressing style where defenders and the goalkeeper play the ball out from the back.
And there have been some teething problems so far this season with some players finding it difficult to employ the new style.
Arsenal news: David O'Leary says it will be difficult to finish in the top four
In the first four Premier League games, Arsenal have still managed to win twice, losing to City and Chelsea.
Former Gunners midfielder Tomas Rosicky is impressed with what he has seen so far.
An the ex-Czech Republic international is hoping Emery can bring his past success to the Emirates.
“I think Unai Emery is a very good manager, who was successful everywhere he has been before,” Rosicky said.
“I trust him, I’m looking forward to seeing Arsenal more and I hope they will grow.”
Emery and his men travel to Newcastle in the first game back after the international break.