Paul Merson claims Arsenal are too ‘open’ under Unai Emery

The former Gunners midfielder has been unimpressed by the huge gaps in Arsenal’s defence since Unai Emery took over

By George Hallam
Unai Emery
New Arsenal head coach Unai Emery Photo: Screengrab

Paul Merson believes Arsenal have been too ‘open’ defensively in their opening three league games under new boss Unai Emery.

Arsenal have conceded six goals in three games so far this season, which has seen them win just once.

Most notably, Arsenal looked misshapen in the 3-2 away at Chelsea FC and failed to notably improve on this in last weekend’s 3-1 win over struggling West Ham, and Merson believes Arsenal defenders a slacking on defensive assignments.

“I watch Arsenal play and I seriously think it’s a charity match,” he said on Sky Sports.

“It’s so open, end to end, there’s no tackling and it’s like watching ex-professionals playing.

“I’ve not seen anything like it, the West Ham game was just unreal.”

Despite taking all three points from the West Ham game, Emery’s side have received heavy criticism for their poor defending.

Against Chelsea FC, they left far too much space at the back and saw themselves go 2-0 down inside 21 minutes and only got back into the game due to their opponents’ own defensive deficiencies.

Emery faced a mammoth task taking over from Wenger, not only having to shift the toxic atmosphere amongst the fans but rebuild an uninspiring yet expensive defence.

He brought in Greek international centre-half Sokratis Papastathopolous from Borussia Dortmund for £14.4m and veteran Swiss international right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Juventus.

So far this season however, the defence looks shakier than it has ever been, and they have to thank their forward line who came up with the goals they needed to outscore the Hammers.

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