Paul Merson aims dig at nine Arsenal stars including Emile Smith Rowe | Football

Emile Smith Rowe and Takehiro Tomiyasu came on in the second half (Picture: Getty)

Paul Merson has aimed a dig at Arsenal’s entire bench following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa as his old club suffered a major blow to their title hopes.

Merson was left furious with Arsenal after the result and declared their Premier League title chances as ‘100 per cent gone’ as he took aim at Mikel Arteta.

He also slammed Arsenal defender Ben White for ‘jumping out of tackles’ against Unai Emery’s side.

Merson has now decided to target Arsenal’s substitutes, suggesting that none of them were good enough to come on and change the game.

Takehiro Tomiyasu and Gabriel Martinelli entered the pitch after 67 minutes, replacing White and Leandro Trossard respectively.

Arteta then decided to bring on Emile Smith Rowe and Jorginho with just under 10 minutes left, as they came in for Martin Odegaard and Gabriel Jesus.

Oleksandr Zinchenko was the last player to be replaced in the 87th minute as Arteta threw on Eddie Nketiah after Villa’s two late goals.

Fabio Vieira pictured during an Arsenal FC Training Session

Fabio Vieira was one of Arsenal’s four unused substitutes on Sunday (Picture: Getty)

Thomas Partey, Jakub Kiwior, Fabio Vieira and goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale were also on the bench but were unused.

‘Look at the bench,’ Merson told Sky Sports on Tuesday. ‘There is nothing worse when it’s not going well and you look at the bench thinking, ‘I’ve not got much here’ – you can’t change it.

‘Usually, there is Trossard to come on or Jesus to come on. Now he’s got nothing. It’s no disrespect to the other [players] but they’re not proven substitutes.

‘Trossard changes football matches. Jesus, if you’re a centre-half you think, ‘Oh no, not him coming on’ – they’re proven substitutes.’

Merson still cannot get over Sunday’s disastrous result as he added: ‘They’ve been so consistent Arsenal and then all of a sudden, they go and do that.

‘I didn’t like the team [Mikel Arteta] played. I called it on Sunday. Keep the same team. Don’t fix something that’s not broken.’


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