Arsenal Legend Paul Merson Criticises Team Selection Ahead of Monday Night Trip to Watford

​Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has slammed Unai Emery for starting Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in their game away at Everton last week.

The Gunners' away record in the Premier League has been a cause for concern all season, with Emery's side only winning once on their travels in the league since the end of November, against bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield Town.

They slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park last weekend to dent their hopes of a top four finish, and Merson believes that team selection was a key reason behind the loss.

Paul Merson

As revealed in The Express, Merson said: "“You can’t go to Everton and play Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. You’re going to get overpowered.

“If you play them away from home, as soon as you lose the ball you’re playing with nine men.”

The decision to play the duo on Merseyside backfired for the Spanish boss with the side unable to respond to Phil Jagielka's 10th minute strike.

Alex Iwobi,Mesut Ozil

The 47-year-old was so unimpressed by Ozil's performance that the German was replaced with 15 minutes left, while Mkhitaryan was fortunate to see out the full 90 minutes.

Merson believes taking off Ozil at that stage was too little too late and called on Emery to be smarter with his decision making away from home, or Arsenal could end up finishing outside the top four.

The former England international added: “Unai Emery could cost his team Champions League football unless he wises up.

Arsenal are a completely different team away from home and they keep making the same mistake and losing. They have a soft centre and they need to be much harder to beat when they go away."

Unai Emery

The Gunners have an immediate opportunity to remedy their away form as they face Watford at Vicarage Road on Monday night, with Ozil and Mkhitaryan both in contention for a starting place.

Source : 90min