Arsenal have shown a worrying trend in their Premier League matches for Paul Merson, who has dubbed Mikel Arteta’s Gunners as ‘flat-track bullies’ in his Sportskeeda column.
The Highbury icon fears how the current top-three have beaten his former side with ease in their meetings this season. Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool have played Arsenal off the park to secure 2-0, 5-0 and 4-0 wins respectively.
Liverpool dealt Arsenal their latest drubbing last Saturday to end the north Londoners’ run of eight league games without defeat. They had won six since losing at the Etihad Stadium.
The Gunners’ wins came against Norwich, Burnley, Tottenham, Aston Villa, Leicester and Watford. Only Spurs are in the top-10, while the Canaries and Clarets are in the drop zone.
Merson expects Arsenal to bounce back from losing at Liverpool when they host Newcastle on Saturday. Welcoming the bottom-placed and only winless side to the Emirates Stadium.
“I would expect Arsenal to get back on the horse against Newcastle,” Merson wrote. “They proved that they’re flat-track bullies last weekend.
“They’ve played a game apiece against the top-three and they’ve been completely and utterly blown away this season. It is a worrying sign, but they have been winning games that they are expected to win.
“Newcastle didn’t get a particularly great result against Brentford the other day, but they did have a good game. Their fans want to see good football from them, but I don’t see them troubling Arsenal this weekend.”
Arteta must address Merson’s ‘worrying’ Arsenal verdict
Arteta will likely share Merson’s optimism for Arsenal ahead of hosting Newcastle after losing at Liverpool last weekend. The Toon sit bottom of the table without a win so far this season and have allowed a joint league-high 27 goals with Norwich over their 12 fixtures.
But beating the Magpies will only serve to follow Merson’s ‘flat-track bullies’ assessment by overcoming another struggling side. Arteta must also work to address Merson’s ‘worrying’ Arsenal verdict to see the Gunners consistently beat high-ranking clubs.
They burst out of the blocks to beat Tottenham in the north London derby in September. Arteta will likely need another performance of that calibre next Thursday when Arsenal visit Manchester United under their interim management.