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Arsenal legend Paul Merson insists they CAN challenge for Premier League top four but worries for Nuno Espirito Santo

PAUL MERSON believes Arsenal have a chance of finishing in the top four this season following their emphatic performance against Tottenham.

The Gunners outclassed Spurs in Sunday’s North London derby as they eased to a 3-1 win following a first half blitz.

Arsenal icon Paul Merson has backed Mikel Arteta's side to mount a challenge for the top four this season


Arsenal icon Paul Merson has backed Mikel Arteta’s side to mount a challenge for the top four this seasonCredit: Getty

And now Merson has stated Mikel Arteta‘s side have a chance of securing a Champions League spot for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

The Sky Sports pundit said: “If Arsenal keep those players fit and they play every week, they would have a chance of getting in the top four and cause problems.

“They have no Europe this season, so will have time to recover and work on the team.

“But this is Arsenal though and has been since they last won the league in 2004, since when they have never really looked like winning the league.

“The game on Sunday was their bread and butter, but if they win away at Brighton on Saturday, then I will sit up. But if we talk next week and they have lost at the Amex, I would not be shocked.

“And that is the problem, they need to get a run of games together.


“This is a good XI, but if they get injuries, they are going to struggle as there is not much after that. But from what I’ve seen the last few weeks, fair play to them.”

Before adding: “They have set themselves a yardstick now, they’ve put the bar there, now good teams stay at that level.

“I did not expect them to lose to Tottenham at all, as they have been very fortunate in their results so far.

“Mikel Arteta had a lot of injuries at the start of the season and what I liked about him was he went to Burnley with a very attacking team, under pressure, and he took a chance, got the ball down when they had it and played.

“And he absolutely produced in that game and they were brilliant when everyone thought they would be bullied.”

Merson has also expressed his concern for Santo following three consecutive defeats in the Premier League.

The 53-year-old believes that one more showing like Sunday’s performance against Arsenal could see to him being sacked.

Merson has claimed that Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo is under huge pressure


Merson has claimed that Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo is under huge pressureCredit: Reuters

He added: “I’ve always liked Nuno and thought he would get a top job, but there are ways of getting beat at football and those players were not running through a brick wall for him on Sunday. And that is where the worry starts.

“This (the North London derby) is the fans’ game, the be all and end all and it does not matter how good a manager you are, you can be the best manager in the world, but it is all about the players – do not let anyone tell you it is all about the manager.

“If the players want someone out, they are out – one more game like that and Nuno is gone, Spurs will not mess about, they can’t have that.”

Arsenal star Granit Xhaka shows off leg brace as he plays with daughter

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