BBC pundit Danny Murphy has admitted that Arsenal have looked better this season than they had for a while under Arsene Wenger, but still insisted they won’t have enough to regain a top-four spot.
Murphy highlighted the Gunners’ newfound ability to ‘win ugly’ – something which was often missing in Wenger’s reign. In the past, Arsenal have been inconsistent, failing to win games against lesser teams who prevent them from reaching their peak free-flowing game.
Under Unai Emery though, the Gunners have already proven capable of grinding out results from poor overall performances. Quoted by Football.London after appearing on Sky Sports' The Debate, Murphy said: “Not playing so well and winning is better than playing great football and losing every week.
"Eight wins in a row at any level of football is good going - you're doing something right, there's obviously a good attitude, a feel-good factor and winning games when you're not playing well is a hell of a good sign.
However, the former Liverpool midfielder warned that the Gunners remain one or two players short of challenging for a top four spot, and pointed to their defence as the main area of concern for the rest of the season.
"But they're wide open defensively because he's trying to play out and I admire that and it will get better because he's working on it,” he added.
"When you try and play out and make the pitch big they're leaving huge gaps when they lose the ball - we haven't seen that technical side of him against the bigger teams yet, but the Chelsea game earlier in the season could have been 6-6! You're not going to get success playing that way I don't think.
"I just think until he gets one or two more in and if they're as open as I've seen them, I think they won't get in the top four playing that way."