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Arsenal legend Alan Smith says Unai Emery must make defensive reinforcements top priority this summer

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Arsenal are yet to keep a clean sheet on the road in the English Premier League this term, conceding 27 goals in 14 games.

They have won five away games, lost five and drawn four, and their unconvincing form away from Emirates Stadium could ruin their top-four chances.

The Gunners dropped down to fifth position in the table following Saturday’s draw against Tottenham Hotspur, and the side’s defensive shortcoming was on display again.

Manager Unai Emery will hope he can kickoff his Arsenal career by leading the team to a Champions League spot at the end of the season, and it will be interesting to see how the north London giants fare under the Spaniard in the last nine games of the campaign.

Arsenal legend Alan Smith believes defensive reinforcements must be top of the manager’s priority list this summer if the team are to have any chance of challenging at the top of the league table going forward.

“It’s a slow burner in terms of following Arsene who was in charge for 22 seasons and his methods. Emery’s challenge is to shape the culture in the dressing room to his own way. Slowly but surely he’s getting there, but you can’t do it without players,” the former striker told Islington Gazette.

“He will want to mould the team in his image and it’s not quite there yet. We were all disappointed when there wasn’t any money to spend in January.

“We’ll see in the summer but his issue is to address the defence first and foremost if you are to have any chance of challenging at the top of the table.”

Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Laurent Koscielny have been the Gunners’ most consistent and top performers at the back thus far this term, but they are 30 and 33 years of age respectively, and despite the availability of the 21-year-old Konstantinos Mavropanos and 23-year-old Rob Holding, Emery must start preparing for the future by making quality defensive signings this summer.