Arsenal head in to this weekend’s match versus Liverpool riding a 13-game unbeaten run. Despite the Gunners’ current form, there are still those who are not convinced that the club has what it takes to compete with the top sides.
One of the most stinging assessments was delivered recently by Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson. When asked about Arsenal’s chances for the season on talkSPORT, the former Highbury legend said:
They haven’t played anybody yet. No (Arsenal are not title contenders). If they finish in the top four they’ve pulled up trees. They’ve done well to win ten games on the trot, don’t get me wrong. When they come up against Tottenham and Liverpool, and especially Liverpool at the Emirates, I would be shocked if Liverpool didn’t win by three clear goals. They will rip Arsenal to shreds.
Ouch. That is rather harsh, particularly because Merson’s memory apparently doesn’t go back to August, when Arsenal opened the season against...Manchester City. That game doesn’t exactly prove Arsenal are title contenders, sure, but it’s not fair to say they “haven’t played anybody”.
To be fair, Merson went on to question Arsenal’s somewhat porous defense. The defensive problems that plagued the Gunners under Arsene Wenger still exist. Emery has done a good job with the players he currently has at his disposal. However, every Arsenal fan knows that Shkodran Mustafi is an accident waiting to happen. Plus injuries to Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal and now Hector Bellerin have added to the club’s troubles.
The only way to shut the critics up is to prove it on the pitch. Liverpool are flying high and are tied on points with Manchester City at the top of the table. The Gunners are currently in fourth just four points behind the top two.
I know that I have personally drank the Arsenal Kool Aid, but I truly believe that there is a real confidence growing inside of this side. Can it lead them to put in a performance against Liverpool that will make pundits like Merson eat their words? I don’t know, but I hope so.
What do you think of what Merson said? What are your predictions for the match?