Arsenal currently have a “lot of issues” facing them, but should still be aiming for a third-place finish once some of their key players start coming back from injury.
That’s according to French football expert Julien Laurens.
Arsenal have had an extremely mixed start to the season, having shown promise going forward but weakness at the back.
Their forward pair of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have looked good so far this season, with the latter having scored seven goals in eight games.
Lacazette’s season has been disrupted by injury, however, after making a lightning start to the campaign.
The Frenchman scored two goals in his first three appearances in the league, before an ankle injury kept him out since the start of September.
Arsenal’s defence has let them down, however, with David Luiz and Sokratis Papastathopoulos having made multiple mistakes throughout the season.
In recent weeks, they’ve welcomed back full-backs Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin, and Laurens believes that those two comebacks will be key to Unai Emery figuring out his best starting line-up.
Kieran Tierney and Hector Bellerin have recently returned from injuries
Hector Bellerin has recently returned from an ACL injury
Tierney, who joined the club for a reported £25million in the summer, missed the start of the season after a double hernia surgery, while Bellerin is still recovering from an ACL injury.
But Laurens explained that once the two return to full fitness, Arsenal can continue to stay on course for a top-three finish.
“That’s the question, will they stay there?” he said of Arsenal’s current third-place position.
“They’ve been a bit lucky, I think, the stats show it too.
Kieran Tierney only joined the club in the summer
“The good thing is that thee’s a lot of room for improvement.
“They’ve been drawing games without playing well at all, if they get to play better – Lacazette is going to come back soon – if they get to play better, Emery finds the right balance in midfield, if he finds the right formula like he did last year, it could look good.
“However, there’s a lot of negatives like we’ve seen this season defensively.
“In terms of balance, in midfield, in those two centre-backs in Sokratis and David Luiz, in the two wing-backs, Bellerin and Tierney haven’t played yet in the league, that’ll make them stronger.
“There’s still a lot of issues there, but that third place would a great asset and a great bonus to them having started the season so well.”