Paul Merson claimed Arsenal have a unique problem with Kieran Tierney when claiming he’s playing like a “school captain”, and declared a Tottenham star “thinks he’s better than he is”.
North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham do battle this Sunday with a vital three points up for grabs. Arsenal enter the contest on the back of three successive victories. They will be hoping their sluggish start to the season has been firmly put to bed.
Spurs, meanwhile, have won just once in their last four matches, with that victory coming by way of a penalty shoot-out against Wolves on Wednesday.
And ahead of the contest, Gunners legend Merson spoke to 90min and gave his honest views on the players that will be on show.
When asked which left-back would make a hypothetical combined eleven, Merson chose Tierney. However, he qualified his selection by admitting the Scotland international is starting to become a “problem” for Mikel Arteta.
“I like Tierney,” Merson told 90min. “The problem is that he is becoming a bit of a school captain. He is trying to do everything.
“Instead of doing his job, like stopping crosses, he’s trying to do everything, so he is caught in between. Stop the cross or get back into a position.
“I like [Sergio] Reguilon. But I have got to go for Tierney. He is one of the main players for Arsenal, and if he can’t get in the team (Arsenal-Tottenham combined XI) then I am struggling.
“No disrespect to the other lad, but I have to go for Tierney.”
Merson then turned his attention to the midfield and claimed Tottenham general Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg “thinks he’s better than he is.”
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“I’m not a great lover of Hojbjerg,” added Merson. “He thinks he’s better than he is in my opinion.
“What’s brilliant? Finishing ninth or tenth. He has the easiest job in the world, he just sits in front of the back two.”
Arsenal swap proposal to torpedo Tottenham plan?
Meanwhile, Arsenal are reportedly set to offer Juventus a swap deal that could help both clubs solve medium-term issues – but their efforts could put a spanner in the works for Nuno Espirito Santo’s plans for Tottenham.
As per the Daily Express, Arsenal could offer Granit Xhaka to Juventus to help solve one of their big issues. The Turin outfit have endured a sorry start to the season and currently sit in 13th, having won just one of their first five games.
And one of their main issues has been their struggles in the centre of the park. Indeed, attacking midfielder Aaron Ramsey has been asked to fill in as a defensive midfielder.
So it comes as no surprise to see Calciomercato suggest that signing a new defensive midfielder is top of Massimiliano Allegri’s January priorities.
However, with finances tight, they may need to explore a possible swap deal to finance the deal. And as per the report, the two clubs could look to trade players with Weston McKennie heading the other way.