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Unai Emery slammed in damning verdict before Arsenal hero then takes swipe at Nicolas Pepe

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Unai Emery has not solved any of the grave problems which existed at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, according to Paul Merson.

Arsenal made a bright start to the campaign but have not won their last three league games, losing to Liverpool and drawing with Tottenham and Watford.

Last weekend’s capitulation at Vicarage Road particularly brought Emery under fire as Arsenal’s passing out from the back tactics were punished by the Hornets.

And Merson, who played for the club for 12 years, has taken aim at Emery in a column for the Daily Star.

“It’s Unai Wenger at Arsenal at the moment because it’s the same old story,” he said.

“They go 2-0 down against Tottenham and suddenly the shackles come off and they look like the Harlem Globetrotters.

“But then against Watford they go 2-0 up and by the end of the game they’re hanging on for dear life. That can’t happen.

“It’s like the Arsene Wenger days all over again. It’s no different.

“Why is it that just because there’s a new rule where you don’t have to go out of your box at a goal kick, that Arsenal think they have to pass it four yards across their own goal?

“It’s Playstation football. It’s something you’d see on FIFA. Not in the Premier League. Emery will have to change his ways or he’ll soon be out of a job.

“If they don’t beat Aston Villa at the Emirates today the fans might start to turn.”

New signing Nicolas Pepe also felt the wrath of Merson.

The £72million man from Lille has not scored but supplied two assists in six Gunners appearances so far.

“And Nicolas Pepe needs to pull his finger out too,” Merson added.

“He hasn’t looked anything like a £72m footballer so far.”

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England U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd monitoring Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka

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‘He is definitely on the radar’: England U21 boss Aidy Boothroyd monitoring Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka

  • Bukayo Saka has made three Premier League starts already this campaign
  • The Under 19 international is in England’s thinking ahead of next month’s games
  • Arsenal team-mate Joe Willock believes it is only a matter of time before he plays

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka is being monitored by England’s Under 21s after bursting onto the scene this season.

Saka has made three Premier League starts already and scored during the 3-0 Europa League win at Frankfurt.

The Under 19 international is in England’s thinking ahead of games against Holland and Albania next month.

The Under 19 international is in England’s thinking ahead of games against Holland and Albania

The Under 19 international is in England’s thinking ahead of games against Holland and Albania

‘He is definitely on the radar,’ manager Aidy Boothroyd said. ‘I saw him play against (Nottingham) Forest (last month). I know what he’s all about. He’ll do well enough before long.’

Arsenal team-mate Joe Willock believes it is only a matter of time before Saka makes the step up.

‘There are so many players coming through the ranks who are thriving with ability,’ Willock said. ‘Saka isn’t in the squad but he’s an amazing player and I’m sure he will be one day.’

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka is being monitored by England’s Under 21s boss Aidy Boothroyd

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka is being monitored by England’s Under 21s boss Aidy Boothroyd

Arsenal winger Bukayo Saka is being monitored by England’s Under 21s boss Aidy Boothroyd



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Arsenal legend Ian Wright pinpoints the Unai Emery decision which ‘baffles’ him

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Arsenal legend Ian Wright is “baffled” by the lack of football played by Mesut Ozil so far this season.

Ozil has made just two appearances this term, starting the 2-2 Premier League draw with Watford and 5-0 Carabao Cup win over Nottingham Forest.

However, the German has not featured in head coach Unai Emery’s last three match day squads.

Emery has confirmed Ozil is not injured and his absence is purely down to selection.

Wright, though, wants to see the 31-year-old back in a Gunners shirt sooner or later.

The former striker claims even if Emery wants to sell Ozil in January, prospective clubs will want to have seen him in action recently.

“I want to see more offensive players on the pitch in positions where we’re going to be able to hurt teams,” Wright told Premier League Productions.

“I don’t know what’s happened with Ozil, I’m not sure that we as a club can afford to have a player of that calibre, paying what they’re paying him, which is always going to be mentioned, not even in the squad, not even there at all.

“Because if that’s the case then what’s he doing to that asset?

“Is he going to go in January? Is that what he’s trying to say to us?

“Because for me he should be playing, he should be involved and even if he doesn’t like him, for whatever reason, you’ve got to play him if you want to get rid of him simply because you want people to see that he’s still a quality player. So that one baffles me.”

Arsenal are back in Premier League action next Monday when they visit promoted side Sheffield United.

The Gunners are currently third in the table, eight games into the season, having won half their matches.

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Arsenal ace Eddie Nketiah backed to end Leeds United loan deal early

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Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah has been backed by Darren Bent to look for a move elsewhere in January after struggling to nail down a spot during his loan spell at Leeds United.

Nketiah joined Championship side Leeds on a season-long loan from Arsenal during the summer transfer window.

He has scored four goals in his nine appearances under Marcelo Bielsa but is yet to start a league game.

And Bent does not want the 20-year-old to fall by the wayside like Saido Berahino did.

“[Nketiah] needs to be playing games,” Bent said on talkSPORT.

“We’ve seen for England Under-21s, we’ve seen over the years to be fair, a lot of strikers, you look at Saido Berahino, you look at his England Under-21 record, it’s as good as anyone’s, he couldn’t nail it down in the league.

“I think for Eddie Nketiah, he’s not playing at Leeds because [Patrick] Bamford’s in the way of him at the minute, and to be fair to Bamford he works extremely hard, and I think that’s the inly thing that’s keeping him in the team at the minute.

“Bielsa likes a hard-working side, he certainly puts defenders under pressure, shuts people down.

“But for someone like Nketiah and Arsenal Football Club, Arsenal are probably looking at this situation and saying ‘listen, we really believe in this kid but he needs to be playing games’.

“At the minute he’s got an impossible task trying to move [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette but he’s never going to get the opportunity to do that if he’s not playing games.

“So I think he may in January have a look at going somewhere else.”

Nketiah scored a hat-trick for the England Under-21s in the 5-1 win over Austria on Wednesday and he impressed former Spurs striker Bent.

“The first one was instinctive, the cross comes in, someone knocks it down, he was just in the right place at the right time, swivels, puts it in,” Bent added.

“The second one a header, again gets himself in the six-yard box between the centre-halves, no one really picks him up, comes in, great header into the far corner.

“And the last one was arguably my favourite, which is a tap in.”

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