Paul Merson was seemingly far from impressed with what he saw from Arsenal despite their fightback in a 2-2 draw with rivals Tottenham on Sunday.
The Gunners came from two goals down to battle back for a point, but Merson picked out a major flaw in their performance as he questioned whether or not Unai Emery has changed things at the Emirates.
It’s been an indifferent start for the north London giants so far this season, with a major question mark still hanging over them in terms of the lack of balance in the side. While they boast a dangerous attacking trident, doubts still remain over their defence while Merson has now singled out the midfield for criticism too.
“Arsenal were commended for not collapsing at Liverpool the week before, credit where credit’s due, but nothing has changed. It’s like Unai Wenger is running things at the moment,” he wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“Every time Tottenham broke they looked like they were going to score, Arsenal were that open. The midfield issues were serious. Every time Tottenham broke, they had the freedom of the Emirates. I couldn’t believe what I was watching. It was reminiscent of when Arsene Wenger was managing.
“With a lack of service Arsenal are reliant on their strikers scoring brilliant goals week in, week out, but that’s not going to happen all the time and that’s going to be the problem.”
Time will tell if Emery has the solutions at his disposal or not, but it’s hard to disagree with Merson’s point above as having seen their defensive frailties cost them last season, they have to improve in that department or risk seeing their targets drift away again.
The Arsenal boss does have the boost of getting Hector Bellerin, Rob Holding and Kieran Tierney back at full fitness soon, but time will tell if that’s the solution in itself or more tactical work is needed to shore things up at the back and to add a much-needed balance to the XI.