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Paul Merson hails Arsenal ‘masterstroke’ decision after win v Liverpool

Arsenal have closed the gap with Liverpool at the top of the Premier League to just two points after winning 3-1 against them at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday (4 February). 

It was a tactical masterclass from Mikel Arteta’s side who stopped Liverpool from creating enough clear-cut chances.

Paul Merson was heavily impressed by Arsenal midfielder Jorginho who was brilliant during the game alongside Declan Rice in midfield. The Sky Sports pundit says that his introduction to the side is a “masterstroke” from Mikel Arteta.

Jorginho, who is on £110k-per-week deal at the Emirates, has only made five starts in the Premier League this season, but the 32-year-old has always delivered for Arteta whenever he has been called upon.

Merson says the presence of Jorginho didn’t allow Liverpool to play their natural game. The Italian kept the ball in possession and stopped the Reds from snatching the ball high up the pitch.

“It was a masterstroke by Mikel Arteta playing Jorginho. He keeps the ball, he has vision. He keeps it moving and breaks lines,” said Merson to Sky Sports.

“When Liverpool are at their best they close people down, win the ball high up the pitch. With Jorginho, they couldn’t nick it because he knows what he’s doing before he gets the ball. He was always one step ahead and more often than not, Arsenal broke the press and then they’re away to score goals.”

Massive win

Merson is spot on here. Jorginho may not have played regularly but he is still a key weapon for the Gunners.

Against Liverpool, he made two tackles, three interceptions, two clearances, and provided one key pass, encapsulating an all-around brilliant effort, as per whoscored.

Liverpool enjoyed good spells during the game but they failed to penetrate the defence. Both Jorginho and Rice provided the safety belt for the back four and apart from one mistake at the back, the Gunners looked very solid throughout.

Manchester City have closed the gap with Liverpool to two points but they have played a game less.

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