Ex-Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has tipped his former club to lose to Chelsea when they meet on Saturday and end any faint hopes they had of finishing in the top four.
The Gunners, who are currently fifth in the Premier League, are six points behind the Blues in fourth ahead of the game at the Emirates as Unai Emery’s side look to close the gap to those sides currently occupying Champions League qualification spots for next season.
While the Arsenal boss has already admitted it would be difficult to finish in the top four should they lose to Chelsea, Merson has predicted that Maurizio Sarri’s side will take the three points back to west London.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the game, Merson said: “Arsenal have to win this game otherwise it’s all in for the Europa League, which may actually help as they can then concentrate on that competition as they’ll be out of the top four race.
“There’s no way they can balance both – the squad isn’t strong or big enough. I fancy an away win.”
Should Arsenal lose to Chelsea, then there best way of securing Champions League football for next season perhaps lies in the Europa League.
The Gunners reached the semi finals in the competition last season before losing to eventual winners Atletico Madrid, and will be considered one of the favourites to win it this campaign, especially with a favourable last 32 tie against BATE Borisov.
Ahead of the game against Chelsea, Emery has hinted that Mesut Ozil could make a return to the squad having been omitted altogether for their recent defeat to West Ham, as speculation surrounding his immediate future, with Milan the latest club linked with the German.