Paul Merson says Chelsea midfielder should be axed for Arsenal clash
By Amir Mir
Paul Merson believes Cesc Fabregas should start against Arsenal on Saturday, with either Nemanja Matic or Oscar being axed.
Sky Sports pundit Merson has stated his former side have the edge going into the Premier League encounter on Saturday evening, but firmly believes Fabregas has to start.
The Chelsea midfielder has not started a league game for manager Antonio Conte this season, as he prepares to face his former club at the Emirates at the weekend.
Ex-Arsenal man Merson has backed Arsene Wenger’s side to come out 2-1 winners, citing the Gunners playing at home as a “slight advantage”.
“This is a huge match, especially with Man City playing at 3pm, because whoever slips up will probably be even further behind the current league leaders,” Merson wrote in his Sky Sports column. “I give the slight advantage to Arsenal because they’re at home but it is one of those situations whereby, come 7pm on Saturday night, we will know what kind of season they will have.
“They are flat-track bullies but don’t really turn it on against the big teams and could be eight points off the top if they lose and City win. Do you see City losing three games without Arsenal also slipping up?
“For me, Cesc Fabregas has to play for Chelsea. N’Golo Kante will cover every blade of grass but you need someone to get on the ball and pass it. Fabregas is among the best in the Premier League in possession.”
Fabregas made 302 appearances for the north London club scoring 58 goals and assisting 91, before making a move to his boyhood club Barcelona in 2011.
The Spain international also scored a brace to help Conte’s side progress through to the next round of the EFL Cup when Chelsea beat Leicester 4-2 after extra-time on Tuesday night.
Arsenal and Chelsea are level on points in the Premier League table, with ten points from five games, but Wenger’s side edge their rivals on goal difference.
In other Arsenal team news, Arsene Wenger’s side are expected to field a 4-3-3 v Chelsea, with Granit Xhaka omitted.