Paul Merson has claimed that Arsenal’s defenders may struggle to concentrate without a crowd behind them, as he highlighted David Luiz’s problem.
The Premier League is set to return next week after a three-month absence amid the coronavirus pandemic, with games to be held behind closed doors.
Arsenal – who lost in a friendly to Brentford this week – face Manchester City in their first game back, and former star Merson believes that their backline could switch off with fans not present to keep them “honest”.
He told Sky Sports‘ The Football Show: “I worry for Arsenal. I watched their goals that they let in against Brentford, and I worry about them playing behind closed doors.
“The one thing that when you’re a defender and you’re not a great defender – and there’s a few of them at Arsenal who are not top drawer defenders – I think the fans keep you honest.
“I mean that in a way that they keep your concentration levels. As defenders, you need the fans there, where you’re always going to concentrate.
‘That’s not being honest’
“I don’t know if you’ve seen one of the goals against Brentford, and David Luiz tried to play out, flick it over the lad’s head.
“And that’s not being honest. The fans keep you honest, and with Arsenal, I think it’s going to be a little bit of a problem defensively, because I think they will switch off.
“I think behind closed doors, no crowd, I think they’ll switch off and there’ll be mistake after mistake, and I think it could be a problem for Arsenal.”