Merson fears Arsenal exodus and urges ‘top to bottom’ questions after Champions League stumble

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Merson speaks on Liverpool Credit: PA Images
Merson speaks on Liverpool Credit: PA Images

Paul Merson believes several Arsenal players will “want to leave” if they don’t qualify for the Champions League and fears for Mikel Arteta’s side after they missed a great chance to get back into Europe’s showcase competition this season.

The Gunners fell to a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle last time out and are now relying on Norwich doing them a favour against Tottenham on the final day to secure a top four spot.

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And Merson was shocked by what he saw at St James’ Park and fears for his former club next season.

Merson told the Daily Star: “Newcastle could actually finish above Arsenal next season based on what I saw the other night.

“I’m not saying they will. But I was flabbergasted by what I saw in that game. And I guarantee you there will players at Arsenal now saying: ‘I want to leave if we don’t get Champions League football.’ That’s what sickens me the most. But they had their chance to qualify and they melted! It was bad enough they got thrashed by Tottenham. But then to lose to Newcastle..

“Every single player was a four out of ten in that game. I’ve never seen that before. Usually you have a couple who do the business. But every single player just didn’t turn up. I was actually watching it wondering who finishes higher next season, Arsenal or Newcastle! The gulf was unreal. Only one team had nothing to play for in that game. But if you didn’t know, you’d think it was Arsenal, because they just didn’t turn up.

“They’re just a young team. Inexperienced. One minute they’re right up and there and they’re great. The next minute they’re awful. And their four out of ten performances have come at the wrong time. Now, they look like they’ve blown it because if Tottenham can’t beat Norwich what’s the point of being in the Champions League?

“Are Arsenal going to get a better chance than this? Manchester United will be more competitive under a new manager. Tottenham will buy players now. They had no European football at all to distract them. That won’t be the case next season.

“It will be harder. And if they don’t make it, they won’t be able to buy the kind of top-class players they want because they won’t come if they can’t play Champions League football.

“It will set them back. They have got to get a centre forward. But they have too many in and out players. Eddie Nketiah was invisible against Newcastle. Arsenal aren’t going to be able to go abroad and get that top-class 25 goals a season striker now.

“It’s not going to happen now. It makes me laugh because Burnley, a vastly inferior team to Arsenal, went to Tottenham and Spurs scrape home. But Arsenal went there and got blown away.

“They go to Newcastle. They get blown away. You have to start asking serious questions in my opinion. From top to bottom. And honestly, if Newcastle can play like that against one of the contenders for the top four, who knows what they might be capable of next season. They will have money to spend. Arsenal will have to buy too.

“But who are they going to get if they’re not in the Champions League? Dominic Calvert-Lewin would still go there. But who else? Which game-changing world-class striker is going to sign for Arsenal without Champions League football?

“That’s the worry. It was in their hands and they went to Spurs and threw it away. Now it’s in Tottenham’s hands – and if they finish the job it’s going to be very hard to swallow for Arsenal.”

The article Merson fears Arsenal exodus and urges ‘top to bottom’ questions after Champions League stumble appeared first on Football365.com.

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