FA Cup Final: Paul Merson thinks Chelsea will be too good for Arsenal
Arsenal face Chelsea in a bid to stop Antonio Conte clinching a double in his first season in England.
Chelsea are big favourites having won the Premier League by seven points.
Conte’s side finished an incredible 18 points ahead of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger has huge concerns with his defence.
Captain Laurent Koscielny is injured, while Shkodran Mustafi is an injury doubt and Gabriel is definitely out.
Per Mertesacker hasn’t started a game since last April but could play in a back three with Nacho Monreal and Rob Holding.
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I would be shocked if Arsenal got a result
And Merson thinks Chelsea, who have a fully-fit team to pick from, will be too strong.
“Arsenal are struggling in defence,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“If both teams had brought their A game then Chelsea would still have won, but with Laurent Koscielny and Gabriel out, Shkodran Mustafi potentially out and Per Mertesacker playing at the back I would be shocked if Arsenal got a result.
“With Arsenal's defence, I can't see them coping with Chelsea's attacking flair. We saw Tottenham play very well in the semi-final and they still let in four goals. Tottenham were the better team on that day and still lost.
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“Arsenal need to have their best defenders playing to have any chance and they haven’t.”
Arsenal v Chelsea predictions: Nine things that will definitely happen Fri, May 26, 2017
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1. Too. many. plastic. flags.
Mertesacker’s return brings experience even if he’s not completely match fit and Merson thinks he needs to have a big game to stop Diego Costa running riot.
“Mertesacker is going to be crucial for Arsenal if he plays,” Merson added. “He will have to play very well if Arsenal are to have any chance.
“If he doesn't play well then Chelsea are going to cut through Arsenal like a knife through butter. The Arsenal defenders are going to have to have their best games of the season. If they can do that then you never know.”