Paul Merson believes Unai Emery has given Arsenal a chance of a top four finish this season, following the club's positive recent results.
The Gunners are currently fourth in the Premier League, four points behind leaders Manchester City and one ahead of north London rivals Tottenham, and want to return to the Champions League having last featured in the competition during the 2016/17 season.
Their 11-game winning run in all competitions finally came to an end on Sunday, as they came up against a resurgent Crystal Palace side who had been in poor form prior to the game, but Merson still believes his former side have a shot at a top four finish.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Merson said: “At the start of the season, I don’t think anyone would have given them a shot of finishing in the top four, but he’s given them a chance at least, it could happen.
"He’s a good manager and he needs a couple of windows. In time he will bring in his players. They’re a long way from Manchester City, but they will be more competitive.”
Despite a better start to the season than most Gunners fan would have expected, their team have shown defensive fragilities and have ridden their luck at times. Merson added that these fragilities will cost his former side against the bigger teams.
He said: "It looks like an Arsene Wenger team defensively, and they have always been irresistible going forward on their day. I think they will get turned over by a couple of smaller teams and I don't see them beating the big ones."
Arsenal face both Liverpool and Tottenham at home within the next month, and the results in those games should give a much better indication of their top four credentials following those matches.
After a difficult start to the season, losing their opening two fixtures against City and Chelsea, Emery's men rallied to win seven league games on the bounce, playing some free-flowing attacking football along the way.
In the Palace draw, Luka Milivojevic crashed home two penalties for the home side to cancel out goals from Granit Xhaka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.