Paul Merson has explained how Arsenal attacker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has surprised him in recent weeks as the Gunners have turned their league fortunes around
Paul Merson has explained why Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has surprised him in recent weeks and pointed to a small but significant advantage the side may have over their rivals.
After losing their first three games, the Gunners have since strung together three back-to-back league victories.
This culminated in an emphatic 3-0 win over rivals Tottenham in the north London derby.
The ex-Arsenal star highlighted Aubemyang and a small advantage that could make a significant difference for them this season.
Speaking on Sky Sports Soccer Saturday, Paul Merson pointed out the importance of Aubameyang and the difference he could make for this young Arsenal team.
Merson said: “Where does it all start? Aubameyang. Aubameyang starts it all, he’s up front he’s chasing lost causes, it’s everybody lifted.
“All of a sudden he’s running round like that, the captain, one of the senior players, then all the other’s buy in. He makes a difference that’s what happened.”
On top of that, Merson pointed to one vital advantage the Gunners had over their rivals as they fought for top half spots.
After finishing eighth place last season, Arsenal have no European football this year even with the introduction of the Europa Conference League.
The lack of midweek games, and a lighter schedule, could prove to be a huge boost to Arsenal, and allow them to maintain their starting XI throughout the campaign.
Merson said: “If they can that 11, we seen it with Leicester and other teams, they’ve got no midweek games, big advantage, massive advantage especially to work on the team then all of a sudden Xhaka’s out of the team for however long.
“I watched them at Burnley I thought they were outstanding, they won that game comfortably then the other day first half they were great.
“Tottenham were bad, course they were bad, shouldn’t be getting beat 3-0 at any game but if they keep their players but it’s be the same last 12-14 years if Arsenal got beat at Brighton you wouldn’t be shocked, that’s Arsenal you need consistency.”
Often, teams struggle to juggle the heavier fixture congestion that comes with playing abroad.
Without the added burden, Arteta’s men can remain fresher for domestic fixtures only as their rivals don’t.
While some clubs like Manchester City have the depth to compete in Europe and domestically in the same week, many do not.
Since bucking their losing streak, Arsenal’s youngsters have stood out for the club with the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe pulling the club to wins.
Both were vital in the North London derby victory over Tottenham.
New signing Thomas Partey has excelled in the middle as experienced midfielder Granit Xhaka has been unavailable because of suspension, injury and illness.
Japanese defender Takehiro Tomiyasu has also impressed since coming to the Emirates.
Arsenal will be looking to continue their winning form and maintain their good run to build up some momentum in the league.
After wins against Norwich, Burnley, and a poor Tottenham, the side will be looking to prove themselves against some of the more talented sides in the league.