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Emery hasn’t lost the Arsenal dressing room but Gunners are papering over cracks, says Merson

5:19 PM MYT 24/09/2019
Unai Emery Arsenal 2019-20
A battling win over Aston Villa is said to show that the Spanish coach calling the shots at Emirates Stadium still has the support of his players

Unai Emery has not lost the dressing room at Arsenal, claims Paul Merson, but a battling win over Aston Villa is considered to have merely papered over the cracks.

Questions are being asked of the Spanish coach at Emirates Stadium just a few weeks into the 2019-20 campaign.

Despite the Gunners having spent big during the summer transfer window, the expected progress in north London has not been made.

Arsenal are into the Premier League’s top four, but they have been far from convincing at times and had to hit back from falling behind on two occasions against Aston Villa on Sunday to claim a 3-2 win.

That success was achieved while down to 10 men, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles dismissed late in the first half, and Merson believes it showed that there is still spirit inside the camp.

The former Gunners star is, however, a little concerned about the bigger picture, telling Sky Sports: “Arsenal beating Villa is a big win. After the week before at Watford, to look like they were going to get beaten by Villa... it wouldn't have been good. It papers over the cracks though for another week.

“Arsenal are in a situation at the moment where everyone's in transition - Man United aren't great, Tottenham aren't great, Chelsea aren't great, it's a real big time for someone like Leicester to break this top four and you've got to have a good start, but again, you need to make hay while the sun shines.

“I thought Unai Emery was under severe pressure if they'd got beaten. When you get the sack as a manager, though, it's because the players don't fancy you. When you saw the game on Sunday, they had 10 men and came out and scored three goals - he hasn't lost them. But they're listening to him.

"They've got a chance to finish in the top four, and if they do that this season, it's a great season for them.

“Credit where it's due - to come back and score three with 10 men was a feat. You'd have to ask Villa some serious questions. You'd be worried about them, but you don't want to be put in that position every week.”

Arsenal will face another stern test of their credentials when they return to Premier League action.

A midweek Carabao Cup third round clash with Nottingham Forest is set to be followed by a trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United.