Paul MersonGETTY

Paul Merson thinks Chelsea are lacking goals in their team

That Arsenal team that went the whole 2003-04 season without losing was something special and while this Chelsea team are good, they are not in the same class.

‘The Invincibles’ could beat you in so many different ways and they could wipe the floor with you if you weren’t careful. They had world-class players all over the pitch.

This Chelsea team are solid, well-coached and they have players producing magic moments.

But they are not going to beat teams four or five-nil every week.

Antonio Conte’s Chelsea are more like the Arsenal teams I played in under George Graham – they are just so solid. When Chelsea score, you can see other teams thinking: ‘That’s that then, we’re never going to score two against them’.

It was the same for Arsenal under George. It would be a phenomenal feat to break Arsenal’s record which stands at 14.

They won 13 in a row at the end of the 2001-02 season and added the 14th at the beginning of the next, though, so if Chelsea do it all in one season it would be even more incredible.

I don’t think that winning runs should count in the record books when they are over two seasons anyway.

But there is a long way to go and other teams will always be in the game against Chelsea because they do not score enough goals.

Arsenal's InvinciblesGETTY

Arsenal’s Invincibles are better than Chelsea are at the moment, according to Paul Merson

Diego CostaGETTY

Chelsea will miss Diego Costa when he’s suspended

“Other teams will always be in the game against Chelsea because they do not score enough goals”

Paul Merson

That’s why it’s going to be interesting to see what happens on Boxing Day when they play Bournemouth without Diego Costa, who is banned.

He is their most important player, their top scorer. He sets the tone and they follow him. They will miss him. If they are going to slip up it’s going to be in a game like this when they don’t have Costa and N’Golo Kante.

But I still think they should win it to make it 12 in a row and they should beat Stoke on New Year’s Eve too and have a chance to break the record for a single season at Tottenham.

That is a different game altogether because of how much the two teams hate each other. They will not want Chelsea to do it there.

But everybody seems to do it at Spurs. Arsenal won the league there enough times.

The record doesn’t mean much unless you win the league, though. That’s what great teams do.

If Chelsea want to be remembered as a great team they will have to win the league. And I think there’s a danger they could hit a brick wall before the end of the season.

Conte’s system only works because Chelsea are only playing once a week.

His wing-backs have to get through so much work and they couldn’t do it playing three times every week.

Being out of Europe has really helped them. It means they’ve had time to work on the three at the back every week in training – and it shows.

Manchester City tried to match up and play the same way against them but you could tell how little they had trained with that system by how much Pep Guardiola was on at them from the touchline.

He was constantly telling his players where to go because they had not had enough time to work on it.

I don’t think Conte had any choice about switching to three at the back. He worked out his back-four weren’t good enough and found a way to protect them and make Chelsea more solid.

But I think that they should go out and buy in January, if only because they need to plan ahead for next season.

Whether they win the league or not they will find it much tougher because they will almost certainly be in Europe.

Conte will need players who can come in and deputise for his wing-backs because he won’t be able to play Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso every week – and he should bring those players in now.

Chelsea are in a great position to go out and buy a couple of big players to freshen it up and keep everyone on their toes.

It could be the difference between success or failure, whether they break the record or not.

           

   

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LIVERPOOL proved they are in the title race by scraping a late winner at Everton on Monday.

But it’s very rare for a team to win the Premier League without a top class goalkeeper and a decent back four.

Liverpool don’t have either of those things. Both their keepers have a mistake in them and their back four just don’t defend very well.

When things get tighter towards the end of the season and the pressure is really on, they might start to struggle.

Losing Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations will hurt them too, especially with Philippe Coutinho injured. Will the goals dry up?

I find it strange that James Milner is playing at left-back as well. He’s a seven or eight out of 10 player every week but he’s being shoehorned in at left-back.

If Liverpool can go and get Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for £40m they have got every chance of winning the title because he is the best defender around at the moment.

But there are so many other teams still in the hunt and such a long way to go, and I think Liverpool have big weaknesses that could prove fatal.

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CHINA is not a threat to the Premier League and I don’t think it ever will be.

They are throwing silly money at players to go there but none of them are top players.

Let’s not pretend people like Oscar, Ramires and Graziano Pelle are world beaters. They are good players but nothing more.

I mean Ramires? Wow. I’d have dropped him off myself for the money Chelsea got for him. And the money they will get for Oscar is astronomical.

But it doesn’t mean teams over here should be worried about China coming in and poaching the best. I don’t see Eden Hazard rushing to play there.

I understand why players go. The money is too good to turn down for some of them. But do they want to win things or just have the biggest house and a fleet of cars?

You can be a millionaire and win the toughest league in the world in England or be a millionaire and play in China. Top players want to win the Premier League.

If you’re playing for a team in Europe that’s never going to win anything or you’re out of the first team, you’d go.

But not if you want to be one of the best players in the world.

Source: http://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/572776/Paul-Merson-Column-Chelsea-Arsenal-invincibles-Premier-League