Arsenal wouldn’t challenge for the Premier League title even if Pep Guardiola was in charge at the Emirates Stadium, according to former Gunner Paul Merson.
With the league season suspended with Mikel Arteta’s side having 10 games to play, Arsenal are ninth – 42 points behind leaders Liverpool and only one clear of the bottom half.
There have been signs of improvement in some areas since Arteta left his post as Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City, but Merson thinks his old side are a long way off the pace.
“Will Arsenal be challenging for titles soon? Even if Pep Guardiola was in charge, no. Not at the moment,” Merson told Sky Sports. “Arsene Wenger used to say it all the time, it’s all about the players – and for Arsenal at the moment, it’s not a good enough team, not a good enough squad.
“I like Mikel Arteta, I really do, and I think he’ll do better than the last manager Unai Emery, but at the same time, to challenge for the title I think they are a million miles off.”
Admittedly for Arsenal, the standard required to challenge for the Premier League title has risen considerably in recent seasons.
However, Merson doesn’t believe Arsenal are good enough at even the most basic facets of the game.
“They can’t defend, and if you can’t defend, you can’t challenge for titles,” he added.
“Is there room for much optimism? I’m going to say no, to be honest. I don’t know any team that has won anything when they can’t defend. If you can’t defend, you’re not going to win anything! It’s simple.
“You can’t keep scoring three goals every game to nick a point or to only just win a game, so until he tightens that up, they are going to be a million miles off.
“This is going to be a slow, slow journey back for Arsenal.”
Source: News update