Paul Merson has slammed Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta for an ‘unbelievable’ mistake he made against Southampton and has also given his prediction for the Manchester City vs Arsenal clash.
“This is a game that Arsenal cannot lose,” Merson told Sportskeeda. “If they lose, it’s all over, and Manchester City can even afford a slip-up. There’s still a lot of football to be played, but Man City are on a roll.
“They do have to face Real Madrid in the Champions League, however, and if they lose over two legs, it could knock their confidence.
“Nathan Ake hasn’t been playing for City – he’s kept Saka in his pocket in the last couple of games and he’ll be a big miss. Leroy Sane and Kingsley Coman got to Man City when they faced Bayern Munich and were really dangerous.
“Arsenal are strong down both their flanks with Saka and Martinelli and could cause them a few problems.
“Arsenal played Fabio Vieira instead of Jorginho last week, and I thought that was unbelievable. They’ve brought Jorginho in to be a calm head in big matches.
“I didn’t think the game against Southampton was a foregone conclusion, and to keep Jorginho on the bench was a big mistake.
“Southampton wouldn’t have believed their luck when they saw Jorginho on the bench. He sits in, dictates play, and controls games.
“With Holding playing instead of Saliba, Arsenal needed protection from their midfield – not people getting turned. Arteta hasn’t done a lot wrong this season, but he made a mistake there.
“Arsenal have gone and tried to win every match this season, but you can’t go to Man City and play gung-ho football.
“The season might catch up with City, and Pep Guardiola has already said that they’re tired. When he starts saying it, the players start believing it.
“If this game ends in a draw, Manchester City will have to win both their games in hand to take the lead. It’s a bit like when you’re 5-3 down in tennis, and you need to hold your serve and make sure you don’t break.
“Man City have been outstanding, but people do get nervous and the pressure can get to them.
“Arsenal get too confident at times, and they should have steamrolled West Ham and Southampton. You can’t drop points like that when you’re playing for a league title.
“They do have the players to hurt Manchester City, however, and I think they can get a result here… Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal.”