Paul Merson believes Arsenal missed a player like Christian Eriksen in their 3-1 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Gunners suffered their first loss of the new season as Antony and a Marcus Rashford double sealed victory for Erik ten Hag’s side.
Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal’s performance after the game, claiming the game was “take away”.
Merson was also buoyed by Arsenal’s performance at Old Trafford but believes Arteta’s midfield needed a player with Eriksen’s vision and passing range to defuse United’s defence.
‘The first 15 minutes of the second half they [United] was torn to shreds. Arsenal should have gone on and won. It was so one-sided, the football game.
‘He was the difference, Eriksen. I thought he was run over [Martin] Odegaard sometimes I thought Odegaard would get him, turn him around and fix him, he would run the show.
“But the thing about Eriksen that Arsenal don’t have is that ball through the lines.
‘He did it with Fernandes for the first goal in the first half and did it again for Fernandes [for United’s second goal].
‘Arsenal doesn’t have that. They have [Bukayo] sake and [Sambi] Lokonga, they won’t get the ball through the lines, that was the difference between the two sides for me, that was it, it was his [Eriksen’s] Pass.
“It’s the same old story, you walk away from here and we’re like, ‘We did well’.”
Merson also slammed Arteta for making three sub stops with 17 minutes remaining as Arsenal tried to level. However, Rashford netted his second just a minute later to seal United’s victory.
“Three substitutions straight away, Man United were solid and brought in Fred so they always wanted to give you the ball so you want your better players still on the pitch,” Merson said.
“They lost their shape, it was like [from Arteta]’Go on, you go on and everyone just plays’.
“Ramsdale hadn’t made a save, it wasn’t like he was man of the match.
“So stick it in the back and they’ll get a chance in the game. They’re gonna wreak havoc, you know how it’s been the last 15 minutes, people would have gotten nervous in here, [United] Players would have gotten nervous.
“For me it was a knee-jerk reaction that was too quick with 20 minutes to go.”
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