By Habeeb Kuranga
After an emphatic win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the AMEX stadium on new year’s eve, former Arsenal midfielder, Paul Merson, has paid the biggest compliment to the Gunners by saying it’s now a ‘shock’ if Arsenal loses a game en route to the English Premier League glory.
Mikel Arteta’s side was rampant yesterday as they won by four goals to two. Goals from Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard, Eddie Nketiah and Gabriel Martinelli ensured efforts from Kaoru Mitoma and Evan Ferguson were not enough for the Seagulls, as they subsequently extend their lead at the summit by 7 points after Manchester City failed to beat Everton at the Etihad.
Arsenal last won the title in the 2003/04 season, when Arsene Wenger’s side went the whole season unbeaten. Now, Merson believes they are now a proper team who can achieve success.
“It’s always a nice thing when the team you’re chasing down is Man City, they’re the dangers and they’ve just drawn a game at home you’d expect them to win.
“Mikel Arteta said this is a difficult game, away from the big boys, you can’t explain how difficult this game is. My biggest compliment for Arsenal now over the last three or four years is that I used to go into games thinking I wouldn’t be shocked if they lost but I’d be shocked if they lost.
“The way they’re playing, I’d be shocked if they lost and that’s a compliment to Arsenal. The steel is in there now, this is a proper team.” He told Sky Sports.
Although Arsenal is looking good at the moment, there are still enough hurdles for the team to cross. With 22 matches left to be played after the win at Brighton. The Gunners still have Manchester City and Newcastle United to play twice, return legs against Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Liverpool. The latter two, are thought to have gotten their rhythm back after a topsy-turvy first half of the season.
The hurdles ahead shouldn’t also limit the great work the young Arsenal team have done so far. Becoming just the joint third team to have the best start to an EPL season after 16 games, with both Man City (2017/18) and Liverpool (2019/2020) earning 45 points, and Chelsea in the 2005/06 season garnered 43 points.