Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has taken issue with the Gunners’ midfield, labelling it not good enough to beat the big team in his blog for the Daily Star.
Many observers felt at the beginning of the campaign that a new defensive midfielder was what was preventing the Gunners from mounting a sustained Premier League title challenge.
Yet, since the introduction of Francis Coquelin and the wonderful form of Spaniard Santi Cazorla alongside him, the North Londoners have improved drastically and look to be on course for a solid top-four spot.
Merson, however, still feels the duo aren’t good enough to cope against the very best and questioned whether top opposition would fear facing Coquelin, claiming FA Cup opponents Manchester United won’t.
“A lot has been said about how Arsenal have looked much better since Wenger started playing Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla in midfield,” Merson stated.
“But while Cazorla is a good player and Coquelin has done really well, if you were to say they will win a big trophy with those two in midfield I’d have to say, ‘Sorry, not against big teams.
“Coquelin is improving and has more in his engine than Mikel Arteta or Mathieu Flamini, but I don’t think other teams fear him. United won’t.”
Room for improvement in midfield?
While there is definitely scope for a world class midfield signing in the summer, the Gunners’ current duo in the middle of the park are hardly pushovers.
Coquelin’s introduction has added steel and balance to a previously weak area, whereas Cazorla has been tasked with dropping back in recent months and his new position has certainly aided his game.
Since the turn of the year, the North Londoners have defeated Manchester City at the Etihad but the losses against Spurs and Monaco have left a black mark over their recent fine run of form.
United at Old Trafford represents a huge opportunity for the Gunners to prove they can overcome top opposition and victory will edge them closer to another major trophy success.