Paul Merson: Arsenal only perform when the pressure is off
Paul Merson claims that Arsenal failed to perform when it really counted last season
Paul Merson has accused Arsenal of failing to perform when it really counted last season and says the Gunners must step up their game if they are to challenge for the Premier League title next term.
The Gunners failed to recover from a slow start to the Premier League season and ended up third in the table behind Manchester City and champions Chelsea.
They need to be playing big games under pressure, not when it is all over
Arsene Wenger’s men successfully defended their FA Cup title with an emphatic 4-0 win over Aston Villa in last month’s final to ensure they ended the season with some silverware.
However, Arsenal have not won the Premier League title since 2004 and former midfielder Merson feels that the north London side should be challenging for the title, criticising the Gunners for failing to step up during the high-pressure games.
“When they moved stadium, I knew the purse strings were tight,” Merson told The Sport Review.
“They had to get back in order and get the stadium paid for. To stay in the Champions League so consistently that long is great. But that’s gone now. They need to be challenging. They didn’t challenge last season – not once.
“Everybody said they played great football, but they played great football when the pressure was off. They need to be playing big games under pressure, not when it is all over.”
Arsenal will begin their Premier League campaign with a home clash against West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on the weekend of the 8/9 August.