As Arsenal took on Newcastle United at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday evening, Les Ferdinand and Paul Merson gave their opinions on both the Gunners and the Magpies in the Sky Sports studio. Merson, in particular, had plenty of praise to give to players on both teams.
The former Arsenal man sang the praises of a pair of Arsenal’s best players - Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka. Arsenal currently sit at the top of the Premier League table, with Odegaard and Saka being two major keys to the Gunners’ success. On the Norwegian superstar Odegaard, Merson said: “He’s different class. He’s scored goals, he’s created chances, he can do everything. But, as well, you’ve to mention his work rate and his fitness. He just keeps on going and going and going, he works so hard.”
Odegaard, 24, has been a revelation in midfield for Arsenal this season. Currently, he has seven goals and five assists in 15 Premier League games. Merson also waxed lyrical on the talents of Bukayo Saka.
The former Arsenal winger said: “He’s a big game player. He makes things happen for Arsenal. Even when he’s off the ball, he still pops up and puts himself about. I can’t praise him enough.”
The 21-year-old has gone from strength to strength at Arsenal. This campaign, he’s scored six goals and registered six assists in 16 league appearances.
However, Merson didn’t reserve his compliments for just Arsenal players. He also lauded one of Newcastle’s key players - Miguel Almiron.
Merson said on the Paraguayan: “He’s a manager’s dream. He works his socks off on the pitch and through hard work he’s getting his rewards.”
It has been an excellent Premier League season so far for Almiron. Currently, he has scored nine goals and has registered a single assist. The game finished 0-0, despite Arsenal’s repeated efforts to break down Newcastle in the final third. Merson said that ‘Arsenal will need more than that when push comes to shove’ but conceded that ‘Newcastle defended very well’.