Paul Merson states his prediction for Arsenal v Liverpool FC
The Arsenal legend is adamant Liverpool FC will beat Arsenal at The Emirates on Saturday evening
Paul Merson is backing Liverpool FC to expose Arsenal’s frail defence at The Emirates on Saturday evening.
The Gunners have been one of the surprise packages in the Premier League this season after Unai Emery took over the reins from Arsene Wenger in the summer.
Emery appeared to have his work cut out to transform Arsenal after the Gunners lost 2-0 to Manchester United and suffered a 3-2 defeat by Chelsea FC in their opening two games.
However, the north London side responded with seven successive victories and 22 goals in eight games to hoist themselves up to fourth place in the Premier League table.
Arsenal haven’t faced a top-six team since their narrow loss at Stamford Bridge but the Gunners have proven adept at dispatching the smaller teams in the English top flight.
Liverpool FC have only conceded four times in their opening 10 games, while Arsenal have let in 13 goals to highlight the difference between the two defences.
Former Arsenal midfielder Merson isn’t convinced that Emery has improved the Gunners defence despite the north London side’s eight-game unbeaten run.
“I can’t see anything but a Liverpool win,” Merson told Sky Sports. “I think this is the day Arsenal show some big cracks.
“We saw Leicester rip Arsenal to shreds for 30 minutes; they scored, Harry Maguire missed a sitter, they had a stonewall penalty turned down. Leicester’s front three aren’t even in the same class as Liverpool’s. I just cannot see how Arsenal will live with them.
“People will say: ‘Oh Arsenal will score goals…’ but Liverpool’s defence has been superb. I watched Arsenal win 11 games on the trot, and they could have easily lost four of them, let alone drawn them.
“I just think the defence is terrible, all over the place, and no different to what it was before.
“If Hector Bellerin is injured, you’re talking about Granit Xhaka at left-back, a central midfield player, and Stephan Lichtsteiner at right-back, who has been a good player but is nearly 35 now. How many 35-year-olds are there in the Premier League?”
Emery signed Borussia Dortmund centre-half Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner and Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno in the summer transfer window.
The Spanish head coach started Rob Holding and Shkodran Mustafi as his centre-half partnership in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park last weekend.
However, the German defender continues to underwhelm at the north London club after the £35m signing made a poor tackle to concede a penalty in the London derby.
Liverpool FC have started to find their goal-scoring form over the past couple of weeks after a 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade and a 4-1 victory over Cardiff City.
The Reds have netted 17 times in their last five games against Arsenal in the Premier League.
Arsenal v Liverpool FC: The last five meetings
Arsenal 3 v 3 Liverpool FC (December 2017)
Liverpool FC 4 v 0 Arsenal (August 2017)
Liverpool FC 3 v 1 Arsenal 8 (March 2017)
Arsenal 3 v 4 Liverpool FC (August 2016)
Liverpool FC 3 v 3 Arsenal (January 2016)
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