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Arsenal overcame their unwanted losing patch which soured Unai Emery’s start to life at the Emirates with a 3-1 win over West Ham last weekend, following on from back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea, but Michael Owen has expressed doubts that the Gunners will have enough to finish in the top four of the Premier League this term.

The Gunners bounced back from their disappointing start with an encouraging win over the Hammers to get Emery off the mark in north London, but former Liverpool star Owen has insisted that the Arsenal squad lacks a strong enough core to regain their Champions League spot.

Speaking to BetVictor, Owen said: “I’m not convinced Emery has got the nucleus of a side which will see the Gunners compete for a top four spot this season and it will be interesting to see how things pan out with Mesut Ozil with the German reportedly missing the game against the Hammers through illness.”

Emery’s tactics and the form and attitude of Ozil have permeated much of the early talk around Arsenal’s season so far, with a number of conclusions already being drawn on the extent of the new head coach’s impact on the side he inherited in the summer.

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Arsenal finished outside of the top four in each of their last two seasons under Arsene Wenger, having previously finished within the Champions League places without fail in all of the Frenchman’s 22-year reign until then.

Emery has been tasked with ingraining greater energy and a renewed battling mentality in his side this season to guide the Gunners back among Europe’s elite, and Sunday’s game away to Cardiff City should provide further indications of his team’s progress.