Paul Merson explains his Arsenal v Brentford prediction
Paul Merson and Chris Sutton look ahead to Arsenal's home clash against Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday
Paul Merson is backing Arsenal to bounce back to winning ways in the Premier League by claiming a 2-1 win over Brentford at The Emirates on Saturday.
The north Londoners head into the game on the back of successive defeats after their loss to Manchester City in the FA Cup was followed by their defeat by Everton in the Premier League last weekend.
Despite dropping points last weekend though, Arsenal remain five points clear with a game in hand after Manchester City were beaten by Tottenham last Sunday.
The Gunners will now attempt to get back to winning ways in the top flight when they take on a Brentford side who have won four of their last five Premier League games and start the weekend seventh in the table.
Seventeen points separate the two sides heading into Saturday’s clash, and former Arsenal star Merson believes that there is a lot riding on the game in north London.
However, although the ex-midfielder feels that Saturday’s clash will be a “hard” one for the Gunners, he is tipping Mikel Arteta’s men to take the three points.
Writing in his column for Sportskeeda, Merson said: “This is Arsenal’s biggest game of the season by a million miles. They’ve just had a shocking result against Everton, and it was a poor performance. I’ve said it before – you’re going to lose football matches. It’s about how you respond after you lose.
“If Arsenal had defeated Everton last week, they would’ve won the Premier League. They would’ve gone eight points clear at the top with a game in hand. Everton had a lot of energy about them, and I felt sorry for Jorginho the other day. I didn’t think it was the right time to bring him on.
“If Arsenal win this game and then get a result against City next week, it’s all over. With their fixture list in the Premier League after these two games, you’d expect Arsenal to avoid defeat. If Arsenal win the next two games, I think they’ll be Premier League champions.
“Brentford are playing as well as anybody, and they’re on a roll on a half. If you look at the form table, Brentford are on top at the moment.
“Arsenal played well at Brentford last time, and there’s still a lot of bitterness there from last season. This is going to be a hard game, but I’m backing Arsenal to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League table this weekend.”
Arsenal were impressive 3-0 winners against the Bees in the reverse fixture back in September, with William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira netting the goals.
Former Chelsea FC star Chris Sutton is also expecting to see the Gunners claim a narrow 2-1 victory in front of their home fans this weekend – a result which would move them eight points ahead of Manchester City prior to the Citizens’ home clash with Aston Villa on Sunday.
“This is a really interesting game because of Arsenal’s last result, their defeat at Everton, and Brentford’s form – they are unbeaten for nine games now,” Sutton told BBC Sport.
“The Gunners are the only team who have beaten the Bees on their own patch this season – a really impressive 3-0 win in September which was the first real statement that Mikel Arteta’s side meant business in the title race.
“Arteta could really do with a similar result this time, to get back on track after that Everton defeat before Manchester City visit Emirates Stadium next Wednesday.
“Last week was as poor a performance as I have seen all season from the Gunners, who didn’t really dictate the game or ever look like they were in control.
“They absolutely need to bounce back from that, and I think they will – but it will not be easy, because Brentford are streetwise, well organised and carry a real attacking threat. The Bees will be a handful, but Arsenal will find a way to win.”