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Tim Sherwood believes Arsenal’s hopes of a top four finish this season will be undermined by their lack of creativity in midfield and is not convinced their defensive improvement under Mikel Arteta will last.
Unai Emery’s successor has presided over a dramatic upturn in fortunes and his side began the new campaign in impressive fashion, brushing newly promoted Fulham aside at Craven Cottage.
The feelgood factor around the north London club intensified earlier last week when captain and talisman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed a new long-term contract.
Sherwood, however, believes the Gabon international will struggle to repeat his goalscoring feats of recent seasons unless Arsenal add some extra creativity to their squad in what remains of the transfer window.
Dani Ceballos has returned to Arsenal on loan from Real Madrid but Sherwood is not convinced the 24-year-old is suited to the Premier League and believes the former Real Betis star will be found out this season.
He said: ‘Ceballos in my opinion is average. I think he’s too weak for the Premier League and I think he’ll get found out this year.
‘I think they need a little bit more guile in there. You need a player in there like Mesut Ozil in that middle of the pitch.
‘When teams are scared of the pace of Saka and Aubameyang and Lacazette and they want to defend deep where’s the guile where’s the player who is going to open the teams up.
Ozil is the man to do that.’ At the other end of the pitch, Arsenal have added the likes of Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba to their ranks, but former Tottenham manager Sherwood is unsure the pair will prove the answer to a long-standing issue.
He added: ‘For me they are still short defensively. Centre backs, it’s always going to be their problem. They build from the back which is great, some of them can play, some of them can’t defend.’