Paul Merson highlights ‘problem’ that could derail Arsenal’s Premier League title bid with just eleven games to go
PAUL MERSON has claimed one Arsenal player could hinder their Premier League title push.
The Gunners beat Fulham 3-0 on Sunday to restore their five-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table.
Paul Merson believes one factor could negatively impact Arsenal’s title bidRex
Gabriel Jesus returned to action against Fulham on SundayGetty
Mikel Arteta‘s men have just 11 games remaining to hold on to their advantage as the defending champions play catch up.
And Arsenal were given a boost over the weekend as forward Gabriel Jesus came off the bench for his first appearance since getting injured at the World Cup.
Jesus, 25, had been replaced in the team by Eddie Nketiah, before an injury to him led to Arteta playing Leandro Trossard through the middle.
The Brazilian’s return is a welcome addition to Arsenal’s squad ahead of the run-in.
However, Merson feels it could actually have the opposite effect.
Speaking on Sky Sports, the Gunners legend said: “Arsenal’s performance in the first half at Fulham was mind-blowing.
“It was like watching Man City in their pomp and this was against a good Fulham team. It was scary. It was bordering on ridiculous.
“It felt like they had at least two more players on the pitch but the thing that will win Arsenal the league is starting matches well.
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“I watched them at Leicester when they were under pressure for a result and they started well and were great.
“Then they were at home against Bournemouth and start poorly. Against Fulham they start well and it’s a walk in the park. I don’t see how they’re going to be stopped if they start well in matches.
“Gabriel Jesus coming back is a bit of a problem for Arsenal because the lad will want to play – he didn’t sign to be a bit-part player like he was at Man City.
“It will cause problems in time but at the moment it’s like another signing.”
Jesus contributed five goals and seven assists in 21 games for Arsenal before his injury.
It remains to be seen whether he will start against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League on Thursday.
If not, his final opportunity to make Arteta’s starting XI before the international break comes at home to Crystal Palace on Sunday.