Paul Merson highlights Arsenal's main problem

Arsenal's main flaw comes down to one thing - Arsene Wenger's questionable transfer policy has given birth to players who are all the same.

Arsenal began their 2014-15 Champions League campaign in disappointing fashion as the Gunners misfired in Germany and dropped a 2-0 loss to an in-form Borussia Dortmund.

For former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson, who won European honours in 1994 having helped the North Londoners lift the Cup Winners' Cup, it is not just the result that is sub-standard, but the performance - and the display comes down to one main problem.

Whilst manager Arsene Wenger's capture of Alexis Sanchez saw him earn media praise, the Frenchman's overall transfer strategy has seen the arrival of players who are too similarly skilled. There are, effectively, too many attack-minded or creative midfielders and not enough enforcers, or defensive-minded battlers.

"[Arsenal defenders] were left exposed with no protection," said Merson to Sky Sports. "I don’t care if you’re [Paolo] Maldini, one of the best ever, if people run at you left, right and centre it’s going to be very hard to defend. I don’t make any excuse for that.

"They’ve probably got about 11 midfield players at Arsenal and they’re all roughly about the same. There’s nothing really different. You can reel them off: [Alex] Oxlade-Chamberlain, [Theo] Walcott, [Aaron] Ramsey, [Jack] Wilshere, [Mikel] Arteta, [Tomas] Rosicky, [Santi] Cazorla and [Mesut] Ozil… they are all players that are exactly the same."

On the performance level as a whole, Merson summarised: "It was poor - it's as simple as that."

He added: "They were well beaten all over the pitch from one to 11. They got closed down, they weren’t allowed to play and they let the other team play. They were a gillion miles away from [winning] anything.

"Something has to change because this happens at least four times a season. This is not a one-off; this happens four or five times a season."

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch