Unai Emery’s side have offered a perfect response to opening their 2018-19 campaign with back-to-back defeats, with Premier League, Carabao Cup and Europa League successes helping to rebuild confidence and raise expectations.
It has been suggested that Arsenal, who slipped out of the top four towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign, could force their way back into title contention this term, so impressive have they been of late.
Merson, though, believes that a return to Champions League competition represents the height of their ambition, with a side that can look like “the Harlem Globetrotters” on their day still considered to lack the consistency and talent to compete with the very best.
The former Gunners star told talkSPORT: “If they finish in the top four they’ve pulled up trees.
“They’ve done well to win 10 games on the trot, don’t get me wrong.
“But 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.
“I’m scratching my head, because Arsenal have won 10 games in a row and in half of those games they could have been behind by so many in the first half.
“But when they get going in the second half, when everything is rolling, then they’re the Harlem Globetrotters.
“I mean look at Mesut Ozil, he was phenomenal [against Leicester]. If he played like that every week, he’d be the best player in the world.
“So no, I can’t buy into it. I think they’ve been very, very fortunate.
“They haven’t played anybody yet, and you can’t play like this against teams like Liverpool.”
They will then round off their October schedule with a Premier League derby date with Crystal Palace and a Carabao Cup fourth round clash with Blackpool.
November is opened with a visit from Liverpool, while a return date with the Reds and testing meetings with north London rivals Tottenham and old adversaries Manchester United are set to take place in December.