Blogs & Opinion


Paul Merson: Arsenal will beat Aston Villa, but must buy pace

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 9th January 2014 view comments

I can't see anything but an Arsenal win on Monday Night Football.

Everyone remembers the first day of the season when Aston Villa went to the Emirates and won, but that's just typical of Paul Lambert's team who have been pretty good away from home and shocking at home.

Walcott: injury is a huge blow, says Merson

Walcott: injury is a huge blow, says Merson

They went out of the FA Cup to a League One team last week and that will kill the confidence of the players - and it will make Arsenal even more confident because if they're losing to Sheffield United then what chance will they have against Arsenal?

It wasn't a smash-and-grab either, Sheffield United deserved to win. Sometimes you see giant-killing where the goalkeeper has been Man of the Match, but that wasn't the case.

Villa's home form is so atrocious that they're letting teams have 70 per cent of the possession against them and that can't be allowed to happen. To be honest, I see it as impossible for Villa to win but of course, this is football...

They've just got to hope that Christian Benteke thinks he has a chance of moving to Arsenal and turns it on all of a sudden. He has been poor lately and I don't think he's fit. He was ripping defenders apart last year, but he's not running away from them this season. I think they have rushed him back from injury (and they had to) and that's not been fair on the lad.

Speaking of injuries, I think the absence of Theo Walcott is absolutely massive for Arsenal. He has been the difference since he's been in the team because of his pace, which opens the game up and gives you an easy through ball.

It sounds horrible to say, but the only consolation is that it happened in the early stages of the transfer window. Arsene Wenger has to go and buy someone now because they are pace-less without him.

You can't rely on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain because he's only 20 and is always injured and never plays - and Serge Gnabry will be fine to come in and do a job from time to time, but he isn't going to win you the league.

They have got to buy some pace now. They were talking about Dimitar Berbatov before Walcott got injured, but now they need pace badly. If not, the better teams can have a go at them and not worry about getting hit on the break. They need to buy someone who is very quick - very quickly!

The lack of pace won't be so much of a problem against Villa though because they let you have too much of the ball. If you're conceding 70 per cent possession to a team with Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil and Tomas Rosicky then they are going to open you up by the end of the match.

PAUL PREDICTS: 1-3

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Redknapp praises Di Maria DNA

Jamie Redknapp says Angel di Maria can follow in the footsteps of Manchester United greats after his QPR masterclass...

Niall Quinn

Cost effective

Diego Costa has made life easier for Chelsea with his goalscoring, Niall Quinn says...

Dwight Yorke

Yorke challenges Agbonlahor

Dwight Yorke says Gabriel Agbonlahor must hit double figures after scoring the winner at Liverpool....

Latest News RSS feeds

New-look United rout QPR

New-look Manchester United rediscovered their spark as they crushed hapless Queens Park Rangers 4-0 at Old Trafford.

Ron return possible

The Supplement say Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Manchester United is 'feasible'.

Live transfer updates

Vincent Kompany hopes Yaya Toure will sign a new Man City deal, while Philippe Coutinho is ready to discuss a new Liverpool contract.

Van Gaal welcomes 'new start'

Louis van Gaal was pleased to see Manchester United make 'a new start' with a 4-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers.

Redknapp: Not too much wrong

Harry Redknapp refused to get too downbeat after seeing Queens Park Rangers hammered 4-0 at Manchester United.

Features

Angel di Maria shows why he can be the difference maker for Manchester United in emphatic 4-0 win over QPR

Angel di Maria shows why he can be the difference maker for Manchester United in emphatic 4-0 win over QPR

“Every time he gets on the ball it comes alive. The game just looks quicker when he’s on it.” Radamel Falcao might have been the focus of attention in the build-up but Gary Neville’s assessment of the game itself was spot on. It was Angel di Maria who stole the show against Queens Park Rangers.

Tom Cleverley kicks off his stay at Aston Villa with a 1-0 win at Liverpool and must now kickstart his career too

Tom Cleverley kicks off his stay at Aston Villa with a 1-0 win at Liverpool and must now kickstart his career too

“Cleverley had no physique, was wiry as hell, but he was as brave as a lion, had good feet and could score a goal.”

Danny Welbeck's Arsenal debut against Manchester City showcased his potential as well as his current limitations

Danny Welbeck's Arsenal debut against Manchester City showcased his potential as well as his current limitations

Arsenal fans. Meet Danny Welbeck. The England international had raised expectations after his brace against Switzerland earlier in the week and proceeded to produce a Gunners debut against Manchester City that offered plenty of encouragement without delivering the killing stroke.