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'Nothing has really changed' - Arsenal's top-four hopes rubbished by Merson

11:59 SAST 2018/11/01
Unai Emery Arsenal 2018-19
The former Gunners title-winner believes Unai Emery's team will falter in the race for the Champions League because of their defensive deficiencies

Arsenal great Paul Merson has poured cold water on the club's top-four credentials by claiming their defence isn't up to the job.

Merson, who won two titles with the Gunners, says Arsenal's defending "hasn't changed since Arsene Wenger left".

And he believes that means Unai Emery's men will miss out on the Champions League places again.

Arsenal, currently fourth in the Premier League, have not qualified for European football's elite competition since 2016, with Wenger's two final seasons seeing them finish outside the top four.

Merson believes former PSG boss Emery has started a revival at the Emirates, but fears Arsenal's backline will let them down.

"It looks like an Arsene Wenger team defensively, and they have always been irresistible going forward on their day," he told Sky Sports

"I think they will get turned over by a couple of smaller teams and I don't see them beating the big ones.

"I don't think they were good at the start of the season. They went on a great run, but defensively they will get found out. Nothing has really changed at the back."

Merson believes Emery, who guided Arsenal to an 11-game winning streak to start the season, will eventually get it right, though.

He added: "He's a good manager and he needs a couple of [transfer] windows. In time he will bring in his players.

"They're a long way from Manchester City, but they will be more competitive."