Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp believes Arsenal have done superbly well to recover following their early season malaise but the former England international suggests the Gunners' squad is an inferior version of Arsene Wenger's team last season.
Arsenal sold Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in the summer and following a hugely underwhelming start that reached its nadir in the 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford, many seasoned observers were prematurely calling time on Arsene Wenger's tenure at the club.
The Gunners subsequently recovered from their terrible beginnings to re-establish themselves in and amongst the Premier League's top four, yet Redknapp, who is the son of Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, believes Arsenal are perhaps not as well equipped this year as last season.
Arsenal made a number of late deadline day transfers that saw the likes of Yossi Benayoun, Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker all move to the Emirates and the Gunners have inevitably profited from the aforementioned trio's experience and leadership[, however Redknapp believes in terms of talent they haven't improved them a great deal.
"They had an awful start and have done really well to get back into the top-four reckoning, but I'm still not convinced this is a better Arsenal team than last year or even the year before that." Redknapp told skysports.com when assessing the Gunners at the half-way stage in the season.
"The signings Arsene Wenger made in the summer bolstered the squad but I wouldn't say they improved them greatly.
Although unsure about the depth and indeed pedigree of Arsenal's squad, Redknapp believes their talismanic captain will be even more potent in front of goal when jack Wilshere returns from his lengthy injury layoff.
"Robin van Persie has been sensational for them and he will score even more goals when Jack Wilshere returns." Redknapp concluded.
t the half way stage in the season, Arsenal are currently in fifth place, a single point off third place Chelsea but a seemingly insurmountable 12 points behind co-leaders Manchester City and Manchester United.