HomeMerson: 'Arsenal won their cup final, why not celebrate?'

Merson: ‘Arsenal won their cup final, why not celebrate?’

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Former Arsenal star Paul Merson believes the Gunners were perfectly entitled to celebrate Sunday’s win over Liverpool enthusiastically, saying the game was a “cup final” for Mikel Arteta’s side.

Arsenal closed the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to two points with a vital 3-1 win at the Emirates Stadium, with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard on the scoresheet.

After the game, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher hit out at what he perceived to be overly exuberant celebrations from Arsenal, criticising Martin Odegaard for taking pictures of club photographer Stuart MacFarlane on the pitch.

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Former Liverpool defender Carragher said the home players should just “get down the tunnel” while fellow pundit Gary Neville said they were “naïve”.

However, given the possible ramifications of the result, former Gunners wideman Merson had no problem with the jubilant scenes which greeted the final whistle.

“If Arsenal lost against Liverpool, they would have been out of the Premier League title race,” he said in his weekly column for Sky Sports. “It was their cup final so why not celebrate?

“I didn’t mind it. The pressure was on and Arsenal were playing against the in-form team in the country, who had been destroying teams.

“If they go and lose at West Ham [on Sunday] then they’re back to square one and it’s a waste of time, but they’ve given themselves the opportunity in the title race.

“Arsenal played with desire, energy and pace and did very well. Liverpool didn’t turn up but Arsenal made it hard for them.”

Despite Arsenal’s statement victory, Merson still believes Manchester City – who are five points off the summit with two games in hand – are the team to beat in the title race.

“I don’t see who beats Man City to the title. They’ve missed probably the best player in the league in Kevin De Bruyne, and Erling Haaland has also been out,” Merson said.

“That’s a worry at best for the others. City are on for the treble again.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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