The former Arsenal and England international star Paul Merson did not hold back this week when talking on Sky Sports about his former club. To be honest the TV pundit usually has some fault to find with the Gunners, even when we are doing well so it is hardly surprising to hear him being negative about us after a shaky start to the new season.
Merson made it perfectly clear where he thinks our biggest problem lies, with the Arsenal defence and more particularly with the Spanish left back Nacho Monreal who has recently gone from full back to the left sided one in a back three and even more recently as the central defender in that back line.
Merson said, “It’s been like that for the last 10 years, you know that, I know that, so how does [Wenger] not know that?
“How are you every going to win the Premier League with Nacho Monreal playing in a back three? Please tell me?
“Look at the goal against Stoke, I could see what was going to happen. This is Arsenal Football Club, you can’t be playing Bellerin, a right back playing left back, and Monreal playing in a three. What is it? It has to stop! It can’t keep going on like this.
“Arsenal have got players going forward in abundance, but you’ve got to be strong at the back!”
He’s not happy, but is he right? After Arsenal conceded four goals in our first two games against opposition that are not exactly world beaters in Leicester and Stoke City you can certainly see his point and Wenger himself was scathing about our defending last weekend.
Some will say, however, that the Frenchman was forced into this with Mertesacker’s injury, and Koscielny’s suspension, while Mustafi had not played for over six weeks. From now on the boss should have all his defensive options open so will that make Arsenal strong enough at the back or is Merson right to say that we are simply not good enough in that area and have not been for many years?