Chelsea fan Merson doubts Arsenal can mount title challenge

The former Gunners forward cannot see Arsene Wenger’s men staying the course, but feels the Blues can emerge victorious if they better Manchester City

Former Arsenal forward Paul Merson has cast doubt over the Gunners’ ability to sustain a Premier League title challenge.

Arsene Wenger’s men have made a positive start to their 2016-17 campaign, with an unbeaten run that stretches back to the opening day of the season having delivered 24 points from 11 games.

That return is enough to have them perched in fourth place in the top-flight standings – two points adrift of leaders Liverpool.

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Optimism is building in north London, with there a belief in and around the Arsenal camp that a 13-year wait for the domestic crown could be brought to an end in 2017.

Merson, though, has seen cracks starting to form over recent weeks and is not convinced that the Gunners will stay the course.

“No, I don’t see it,” he said in the Daily Star.

“They played Middlesbrough at home and were very lucky to get a result. They were 1-1 with 15 minutes to go against Sunderland.”

Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by Boro at the Emirates Stadium in October, and required a late flurry of three goals in the space of seven minutes to claim a 4-1 victory at Sunderland.

They entered the international break on the back of a 1-1 derby draw with Tottenham and return to action on Saturday with a testing trip to Old Trafford to take on Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United.

Further points could be dropped there, which could allow others to edge ahead in the title race.

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In-form Chelsea will be among those looking to kick on when Premier League action resumes this weekend, and Merson believes they are serious contenders.

He continued: “I’m a Chelsea fan and I’d be disappointed if Chelsea finish above Man City and didn’t win the Premier League.”

The Blues have claimed five league victories on the bounce, without conceding a goal, and are now the closet challengers to Jurgen Klopp’s table-topping Liverpool.

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