15 July 2014 17:00
Former England striker Michael Owen expects Arsenal to miss out on a top-four finish this season despite the arrival of Alexis Sanchez.
Optimism is high at Emirates Stadium following the signing of Chile international Alexis from Barcelona.
However, while acknowledging the quality of the forward, Owen believes Arsenal – who led the Premier League for much of last term before falling away to finish fourth – will find it difficult to secure UEFA Champions League qualification due to the strength of their rivals.
Owen told talkSPORT: “The signing of Sanchez has made everyone sit up and take note. I really do rate him, he’s a top player and it’s a big step in the right direction.
“But, in no particular order, my top four for next season would be Chelsea, Man City, Man United and Liverpool.”
Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool were runners-up to Manchester CIty last season, and Owen has warned his former side that they must improve if they wish to claim a first league title since 1990.
“If Liverpool are going to progress again, they probably need to get better again,” the 34-year-old told the club’s official website.
“Manchester City won the league, Chelsea have strengthened in a big way.
“From second to first is a big leap so Liverpool are going to need to be better again and the top-line performers are going to need to play as well, if not better.”
Liverpool have seen star man Luis Suarez depart for Barcelona, while England internationals Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert have been among the Merseyside outfit’s close-season recruits to date.
“They are two good buys,” added Owen. “They were fantastic last year for Southampton and are proven in the Premier League.
“Lallana could be a star. He has done fantastically well, has great feet and lovely balance. I’m really looking forward to seeing him in the Liverpool shirt.”