Paul Merson says Arsenal will win the Premier League, highlights Declan Rice’s impact

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has backed Arsenal to go on to win the Premier League title this term, having become a different team from last season.

The Gunners were top of the standings for more than eight months last campaign, but were unable to finish at the summit after a poor run of results.

Mikel Arteta’s side have continued to make progress after the setback. They are presently top of the table after Christmas with 40 points from 18 games.

Speaking on The Debate show on Sky Sports, Merson said that the Gunners have learnt from their mistakes and they are a different team this season.

The former Gunners star added that Declan Rice (24) has taken them to another level and believes the London giants will go on to lift the title this time around.

He said: “Arsenal are a different team now, they learnt a lot last season & putting Declan Rice in there has took them to another level. I think they go on & win it [the title] now – I make Arsenal the team now.”

Arsenal face stiff challenge for the title

The Gunners were chased by Manchester City for most of the previous campaign and they eventually stumbled towards the finish line with inconsistent results.

Their challenge has only become stiffer this term. They not only face the threat from Pep Guardiola’s side but also Liverpool, Aston Villa and Tottenham Hotspur.

There is currently only a six-point gap between them and fifth-placed City, who have a game in hand.

Arsenal have not been playing at their fluent best in the final third compared to last season, but they have still secured positive results with a strong defensive record.

Rice’s presence in front of William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes has made the Gunners tough to beat, but they need to find the same consistency in the final third.

The club have no worry with their goalscoring at the Emirates, but they need to replicate the same on the road to give themselves the best chance of winning the league.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com

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