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:

Latest News RSS feeds

Chelsea go three points clear

Chelsea will be top of the Premier League table on Christmas Day after beating Stoke 2-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

Neville: Duo are miles away

Liverpool and Arsenal can forget about winning trophies until they learn how to stop the opposition, says Gary Neville.

Jose: My team were perfect

Jose Mourinho says his Chelsea players were "amazing" after they beat Stoke 2-0 to go three points clear of Man City.

Carlisle seriously injured

Former PFA chairman Clarke Carlisle has suffered serious injuries after being hit by a lorry.

Hyypia quits as Brighton boss

Sami Hyypia has left Brighton after the club accepted his resignation as manager.

Features

Premier League: Chelsea show the fighting spirit in their 2-0 win at Stoke that can take them to the title

Premier League: Chelsea show the fighting spirit in their 2-0 win at Stoke that can take them to the title

Adam Bate looks at how Chelsea showed in their 2-0 win at Stoke City on Monday Night Football that they have the toughness as well as the quality needed to win the Premier League title this season...

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Five talking points from Anfield

Liverpool 2-2 Arsenal: Five talking points from Anfield

"It was a bizarre game and lots of unusual things happened." That was how Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith summed up Liverpool and Arsenal's thrilling 2-2 draw on Super Sunday.

Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Reshuffled defence stand firm for visitors at St James' Park

Newcastle 0-1 Sunderland: Reshuffled defence stand firm for visitors at St James' Park

Adam Johnson once again grabbed the headlines in the Tyne-Wear derby, finding the net at St James’ Park for the third season in a row to help Sunderland to a record fourth-straight victory over arch rivals Newcastle in the Premier League.