Paul Merson slams Arsenal players and says Gunners are ‘a million miles away’ from title under Mikel Arteta

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta
The Spaniard has showed some early signs of promise since taking charge (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal legend Paul Merson has slammed the Gunners’ squad and says Mikel Arteta must tighten up their leaky defence, even claiming Pep Guardiola could not get this current side challenging for titles.

Although still only sat in ninth place in the Premier League table, Arsenal had been enjoying a resurgence prior to the suspension of the season – going unbeaten in their last eight league games and winning three on the bounce.

However, Merson feels the calibre of the squad is simply not good enough and has questioned Arteta’s approach, arguing that the Spaniard needs to sort out the defence as a priority.

Asked if he could see Arsenal getting back to the top under Arteta, Merson told Sky Sports: ‘Even if Pep Guardiola was in charge, no. No I don’t at the moment.

‘Arsene Wenger used to say all the time: it’s all about the players. It’s all about the players and Arsenal’s players are not a good enough team, it’s not a good enough squad.

‘I like Arteta, I really do, and I think he’ll do better than the last manager. But at the same time to go and challenge for the title? I think they’re a million miles off. A million miles. They can’t defend.’

Asked if there was any room for optimism after some promising signs, Merson continued: ‘I’m gonna go no, if I’m going to be honest.

‘As I say, I don’t know any team that’s ever won anything that can’t defend. And if you can’t defend, you’re not going to win anything.

‘You can’t keep having to score three goals every game to try and nick a point or just win a game. So until he tightens that up, they’re going to be a million miles off. For me at the moment, no, I think this is going to be a slow, slow journey back for Arsenal.’

Arsenal legend Paul Merson
Merson is not getting carried away by Arsenal’s good form since the turn of the year (Picture: Getty)

Jamie Redknapp agreed, adding: ‘Merse is right, it’s all about players. I like what he [Arteta] is doing, there’s no doubt he knows the game inside out and he’s worked with the best manager in terms of producing players and working with great players. But he hasn’t got great players at Arsenal.

‘I think it’s going to take a long time, a lot of investment. I think what’s happening right now, with the current climate, doesn’t help.

‘But I think he made a positive impact when he first came in, but he needs better players it’s as simple as that because they keep making so many bad defensive errors and he can’t change that.’

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