Arsenal were cautioned about the Europa League.
Paul Merson has claimed it will be harder for Arsenal to win the Europa League this season than it was for Manchester United. The former Gunner explained that there are several quality teams left in the competition.
Merson was discussing Arsenal’s prospects of qualifying for next season’s Champions League and conceded their best route is via the Europa League.
“You don’t know what they’re going to do with the Europa League,” he wrote for Sky Sports. “They’ll have to do a Manchester United.
“It’s hard this year, no disrespect but when United won it it wasn’t that difficult, and there’s some good teams left in it this season.”
Arsenal return to Europa League action against Olympiacos next Thursday, after topping their group.
The Gunners reached the final of the competition last year but lost to Chelsea.
Olympiacos are two points clear of PAOK at the top of the Greek league and are unbeaten in their last five league matches.
The Greek side entered the Europa League after finishing third in their Champions League group, behind Arsenal’s local rivals Tottenham and Bayern Munich.
Mikel Arteta will be looking for success in the cup after Arsenal slipped to 10th in the Premier League.
The Gunners are level on points with Burnley, Newcastle and Southampton, all of which were threatened with relegation earlier this season.
Arsenal have drawn 13 games this season and won the same number of matches as West Ham, who are in the bottom three.
Despite the lack of points, Merson explained there has been an upturn in performances under Arteta.
He said: ”We’ve seen with Mikel Arteta, the moment the window opened he brought in two defenders. But I found it hard watching Arsenal under Emery.
“I thought it was soft, like watching Arsene Wenger’s teams, and at least now they’re not getting dominated and bullied by Burnley.
“Against Leeds they got battered in the FA Cup in the first half, Arteta gets them in and says what he wants and they absolutely dominate the second half and could’ve won by a lot of goals – that tells me something, when managers can turn things around like he did and players listen.
“Arteta’s not going to come in and tell Ozil how to play a pass, but Arsenal have been the worst team in the Premier League without the ball over the last 10 years and that’s what he’s trying to change.”