Sunday, March 7, 2021

Hard to watch Arsenal not believing they can win, says Merson

SoccerNews in English Premier League 23 Feb 2021

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Paul Merson says seeing Arsenal so far behind the top teams in the Premier League and not believing they can beat them has become “hard to watch”. 

The Gunners were defeated 1-0 at Emirates Stadium by runaway league leaders Manchester City on Sunday. 

City were not at their brilliant best and Merson felt the match was another example where Arsenal’s players did not believe they could beat a top side when a result was there for the taking. 

Arsenal are 10th in the table and two-time league winner Merson believes they have a long road ahead to be competitive again. 

“I can’t see Arsenal doing anything between now and the end of the season to get into the top four,” he told Sky Sports. 

“I played at Arsenal for a good number of years a long time ago and it is just a phenomenal football club. It’s a Rolls Royce of a football club but when you look where they are now, it’s just hard to watch. 

“Man City used to be a million miles away and talk about turning things on its head, they are so far ahead of Arsenal.  

“The only thing that can give you hope if you are an Arsenal fan is that you can watch City and think things can turn around. 

“I was so disappointed. It’s so easy for me to sit and say Arsenal should have had a right go at Man City because I know you can end up losing 4-0 or 5-0, and then it looks an awful result.  

“But if you look at Arsenal’s performance, they looked out of their depth and that was really worrying. 

“When they got to 75 minutes and were only a goal down, they had to have a right go. But it looked like the players just didn’t have that belief. 

“It seems a long time ago now and it was a long time ago that Arsenal had that. They had that fear factor for teams playing them. I found it a really hard watch.”

Merson advised Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to focus on the Europa League, with their last-32 tie against Benfica evenly poised at 1-1 ahead of the second leg. 

Discussing the task at hand to revive the team, he added: “It’s a real massive rebuild job at Emirates Stadium and I think it’s going to take a long, long time.  

“That’s unless they’ve got some money from somewhere and they have a right go, but we’ve seen Chelsea have a right go and look where they are.  

“We are talking about whether they will get in the top four and that was a lot of money, so there are no guarantees. 

“It’s a really hard one to take for Arsenal at the moment.” 

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