'Chelsea not in the same class as Arsenal's Invincibles'

Former Gunners midfielder Paul Merson has praised Antonio Conte's side, but said they cannot compare to the Premier League's best ever team

Paul Merson has claimed that Premier League leaders Chelsea 'are not in the same class' as Arsenal's Invincibles side of 2003-04.

Antonio Conte's men currently lead the league by six points, and are heading for a record 14 league wins in a row, but having already lost once this season, cannot go unbeaten like Arsenal's vintage side.

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Former Gunners midfielder Merson believes that Conte has built a very strong squad, but that they do not live up to Arsene Wenger's historic title-winning team.

"That Arsenal team that went the whole 2003-04 season without losing was something special and while this Chelsea team are good, they are not in the same class," Merson told the Daily Star.

"‘The Invincibles’ could beat you in so many different ways and they could wipe the floor with you if you weren’t careful. They had world-class players all over the pitch.

"This Chelsea team are solid, well-coached and they have players producing magic moments.

"But they are not going to beat teams four or five-nil every week."

Merson believes Chelsea's frailty lies in their ability to really put games away, and feels that without Diego Costa in attack, that they struggle to score goals.

Costa has already netted 13 Premier League goals this season, but is suspended for their upcoming game against Bournemouth.

"There is a long way to go and other teams will always be in the game against Chelsea because they do not score enough goals," the 48-year-old continued.

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"That’s why it’s going to be interesting to see what happens on Boxing Day when they play Bournemouth without Diego Costa, who is banned.

"He is their most important player, their top scorer. He sets the tone and they follow him. They will miss him. If they are going to slip up it’s going to be in a game like this when they don’t have Costa and N’Golo Kante."