Blogs & Opinion


Paul Merson:

Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Sam Tankard on After the disaster

"It's been the same old season for Arsenal, throwing away silly points at important moments in the season. Mers is right, out hopes of landing the title are over (again) and at the same ... " View all comments

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 Carragher

Strikers must step up

Jamie Carragher says the pressure is on Liverpool's misfiring strikers after Daniel Sturridge's latest injury blow....

Latest News RSS feeds

Premier League preview

Arsenal and Manchester United meet on Saturday Night Football while leaders Chelsea host West Brom earlier in the day.

'Defences costing rivals'

Arsenal and Man Utd must address defensive problems to return to the top, says Jamie Redknapp.

Blades: 'Mob' forced our hand

Sheffield United co-chairman Jim Phipps says 'mob-like behaviour' forced the club to reverse their decision on Ched Evans.

Sterling eyes Liverpool stay

Raheem Sterling ready to commit his long-term future to Liverpool after expressing his happiness with life at Anfield.

Jose: There will be no crisis

Jose Mourinho is confident Chelsea can avoid a period of 'crisis' this season as they chase down the Premier League title.

Features

Manchester United's Robin van Persie must be more decisive in front of goal to get back to his very best

Manchester United's Robin van Persie must be more decisive in front of goal to get back to his very best

Manchester United finished the first day of last season’s Premier League at the top of the table following a 4-1 win at Swansea in which Robin van Persie scored twice to make it a perfect start for David Moyes.

Arsenal v Manchester United: Five classics

Arsenal v Manchester United: Five classics

Arsenal 3 Manchester United 2 - 1979 FA Cup Final

Championship: Why the presence of Grant Holt at Huddersfield Town could bring the best out of Nahki Wells

Championship: Why the presence of Grant Holt at Huddersfield Town could bring the best out of Nahki Wells

It was perhaps appropriate that Nahki Wells opened his account for the 2014/15 season with a Capital One Cup hat-trick for Huddersfield in August. After all, this was the competition in which he first rose to prominence as one of Bradford’s heroes of their journey to the 2013 final.