Mikel Arteta told Arsenal can make Premier League top four this season on one key condition
Arsenal legend Paul Merson thinks that his former side can make the top four this season if their strongest starting XI stays fit.
The Gunners put in one of their best performances under Mikel Arteta on Sunday as they convincingly beat Tottenham 3-1 in the north London derby.
Although the Gunners are often up for a game against Spurs, especially when playing at home, things clicked into gear at the weekend and Arteta’s project looks like it’s now well underway.
After four consecutive wins in all competitions, things are looking very different to how they were just over three weeks ago when Arsenal were rock bottom of the Premier League table.
Now, some, including Merson, think they can even compete for a place in Europe’s top competition if they keep their squad fit.
“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,” Merson wrote in his Sky Sports column. “They have no Europe this season, so will have time to recover and work on the team.”
However, Merson has been realistic too, and has said he wouldn’t be surprised if things change very quickly at the Emirates.
“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.”
Arsenal have already lost one player from their starting side against Spurs, as Granit Xhaka left the pitch in some agony.
The Switzerland international will see further knee specialists, with official confirmation on his injury lay-off expected soon.
Arteta will be hoping the rest of his squad stays fit moving forward, as he finally has the group of players that he wants to work with moving forward.
Arsenal travel to Brighton on Saturday in their final game before the international break, before hosting Crystal Palace on October 18.