Arsenal star Laurent Koscielny is adamant that the club will be on the same level as Barcelona and Bayern Munich if it wasn’t for their high number of injuries, London Evening Standard reports.
The Gunners’ injury-plagued season continued this past weekend when star midfielder Mesut Ozil was pulled out of the squad with a toe problem, and his absence saw Arsene Wenger’s men only manage to draw Stoke City 0-0 at the Britannia Stadium.
The result may have kept them at the top of the table, but the North London club are tied on points with Leicester City and only one away from title-favourites Manchester City heading into the crunch London derby against Chelsea this Sunday.
And Koscielny believes that if it wasn’t for their constant injury troubles, the team would be well ahead in the league and would be comparable to European champions Barca and Bundesliga giants Bayern.
“We lose too many elements [through injury] during the season,” he told French publication Journal du Dimanche.
“It’s complicated when you cannot count on four or five guys for six months. It’s like that every year, I do not know where it comes from.
“This prevents us from moving a step closer to the top five clubs [in Europe.”
Despite the complaints, the France international is confident Arsenal can win their first Premier League title since 2004.
“The title is not a given, but I’d rather be in this position than chasing the others. There are four months left to play so it will be complicated,” he added.
“The Premier League is becoming more of a level playing field. Average teams can recruit very good players [due to TV money] which until now had only joined the top five teams.
“But after 10 years without a trophy, the FA Cup wins have done us good. For the past three years, we’ve kept our spine. We know each other better so that allows us to win matches that we would have lost before.”