Paul Merson claims Unai Emery’s squad aren’t strong enough mentally to achieve anything more than they did last season, after watching the team play one game against the English champions.

Merson was speaking on Sky Sports after watching Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat to Manchester City over the weekend. He admitted that whilst he doesn’t expect the side to have any trouble finishing fifth or sixth, they need big changes to make it up into the top four and beyond.

“If you want to keep on coming along making money and finishing fifth or sixth, nothing has to change,” he said. “But if you want to break in, get to that level, it’s going to need a better mentality of player; I don’t think the players are mentally strong enough.

“I don’t see it – when it went 2-0 and the picture panned away and Bernardo Silva ran to the crowd, it was like Laurel and Hardy with Mesut Ozil, ‘that’s the end of that game’. They just seem like a lovely bunch of lads, not even Granit Xhaka is getting them to come on – you never see it with Arsenal.”

There probably was a bit of a sense of resignation in the Arsenal side after going 2-0 down, at first. After all, there was less than a third of the game to go, and the team had struggled to make any headway in the match up to that point.

In the team’s defence though, things did then improve for the remainder of the match. Arsenal had a couple of great chances they just failed to make something of, and two offside goals that just needed a slight adjustment in the timing of the runs.

More importantly, this is just one match. We aren’t at the mid-way point in the season, we haven’t had multiple transfer windows for Emery to get things right. We’ve seen one game against the strongest team in England. Former players should know better than anyone these things take time.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.