Paul Merson makes dramatic Arsenal U-turn after changing opinion on Mikel Arteta

Arsenal have gone from Premier League laughing stock to one of the most improved sides in the top-flight, having won their last three league encounters

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Arteta delivers verdict on Arsenal’s win over Tottenham

Just a month ago, the vultures were circling around Mikel Arteta, fresh off the back of three heavy Premier League defeats to start the season, the Arsenal boss’ days look numbered.

However, just a few weeks later and the situation looks infinitely better after a trio of wins, including Sunday’s comprehensive dismantling of north London rivals Tottenham.

For the first time in months, there is now a genuine sense of positivity around the Emirates, with the Gunners miraculously just four points off early table toppers Liverpool.

But it’s not just supporters that are beginning to change their tune, not only on Arteta’s job prospects, but on Arsenal’s ambitions for the new season.

Mikel Arteta celebrates after guiding Arsenal to a third Premier League in a row



Sky Sports pundit and former Arsenal star Paul Merson has also completed a dramatic U-turn when it comes to his old side’s chances this term.

Speaking at the end of August, following the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea, Merson pulled no punches, claiming the Gunners were a “million miles” away from competing for a Champions League berth and were more likely to finish in mid-table.

“Arsenal are a million miles behind Chelsea,” he said in his column for Sky Sports. “These are worrying times for Arsenal, there is still a long way to go but if you weigh up the last two games you have to conclude that Arsenal are and are going to be a mid-table team.

“Arteta talks a good game, but not good enough to convince anyone that everything is on the right path at Arsenal.

“At the moment, Arsenal are middle of the table. If they come fifth or sixth I think they’re pulling up trees, 10th is about right.

“They won’t finish above Leicester and they definitely won’t finish above Tottenham after they kept Harry Kane. I don’t think they would.”

But on the back of the 3-1 win over Spurs, which saw them move level on points with their arch rivals, Merson thinks top four could now be in their sights.

Paul Merson has changed his tune on his former side


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On this occasion, he said: “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.

“They have no Europe this season, so will have time to recover and work on the team.”

Merson did warn that injuries could derail any bid for the top four, but claimed that if they can remain fit, they have as good a chance as anyone.

“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.

“Mikel Arteta had a lot of injuries at the start of the season and what I liked about him was he went to Burnley with a very attacking team, under pressure, and he took a chance, got the ball down when they had it and played.

“And he absolutely produced in that game and they were brilliant when everyone thought they’d get bullied.”

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