Merson names ‘harsh’ player who has ‘helped’ Arsenal win the Premier League title next season

Joe Williams
Arsenal legend Paul Merson
Paul Merson thinks the Gunners will now have added motivation next season.

Paul Merson thinks Rodri’s “harsh” comments about Arsenal have helped the north London side win the Premier League title next season.

The Gunners did their job on the final day of the Premier League season by beating Everton 2-1 but Manchester City’s 3-1 victory over West Ham meant Pep Guardiola’s side were champions for a fourth consecutive year.

Arsenal finished two points off the champions in the end after an exciting title race which saw Liverpool fall away towards the end of the season.

During Man City’s title celebrations, Rodri questioned the mentality at Arsenal after claiming Mikel Arteta’s side just wanted a draw in March when the two teams played out a goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium.

When asked how Man City keep winning titles, Rodri said: “To be honest, I think it’s in here [the mind]. It’s the mentality.

“Great players are all over the league, all over the clubs. Arsenal also they deserve, they did an unbelievable season, but I think the difference was in here [points to head again].

👉 Who won the most corners in the Premier League in 2023/24?
👉 Man Utd still top the all-time Premier League table with Man City sixth
👉 ‘Insistent’ Arsenal make ‘formal offer’ for left-back as Wright identifies three signings Arteta ‘needs’

“When they came here, they faced us here at the Etihad, I saw them and said, ‘Ah, these guys, they don’t want to beat us, they just want a draw’.

“And that mentality, I don’t think we would do it the same way.

“And we caught it. At the end, if you give us one point, we will win the last seven, eight games even though it’s so tough. So I think [the win] comes down to mentality.”

But Merson thinks Arsenal will use Rodri’s comments as a way to motivate themselves to win the Premier League next season.

Merson told Sky Sports: “Rodri’s comments will only help Arsenal. You come back [from the summer break] and they’ll say, ‘We’ll show you’.

“I thought it was wrong, because Arsenal did nothing wrong. One game, one game against Villa, they’re a good team who can catch you on the counter.

“It wasn’t like last year where it was West Ham, Southampton, teams like that. For me, that’ll be on the dressing room door the first day in pre-season.

“There’s no doubt about that, I don’t know why he said it – it’s a bit harsh.

“They came back after New Year, they brushed themselves down and it’s one game that’s cost them.

“Just phenomenal. But one hundred per cent will that comment be in Mikel Arteta’s team talk when they come back.

“The other thing though, it’s the fixture list. You end up getting Man Utd away, Liverpool home, Chelsea away in the first few games, you get one point out of those three and you’re out of the title race already. You are, that’s what they do to you.

“Look how many teams were out of it within three months? Loads of them. It was a three-horse race.

“You can’t have back-to-back defeats, and those ones all the way back in December are what hurt Arsenal.”

READ NEXT: How Manchester United could ruin Liverpool by selling them ‘an inferior version of Theo Walcott’