Arsenal have not won the Premier League title since going the whole 2003/04 campaign unbeaten.
Merson reckons qualifying for the Champions League is the Gunners’ main objective – something they have not done for the past two seasons.
But former Manchester United striker Dion Dublin, who was on Sky Sports’ The Debate programme, disagreed.
Dublin says all of the so-called big six sides in the Premier League start the season with the aim of winning it.
The pair got in a heated debate about it, with presenter Geoff Shreeves also having his say.
Merson says Arsenal’s objective at the start of the season is vastly different to United, who he believes always set out to finish top of the pile.
Read every word of Merson and Dublin’s argument below
Merson: “I was very fortunate, I played at Arsenal, an unbelievable football club, unbelievable football club.
“It’s got to the stage over the last seven, eight, nine, 10, 11, 12, 13 years – ‘get in the top four’. Not win it, get in the top four.”
Shreeves: “They all set out to win it.”
Merson: “How? Do you really honestly think they all set out to win it?
“Do you think Arsenal set out to win the Premier League in your wildest dreams?”
Shreeves: “They all set out to win their games.”
Dublin: “They must have started the season by saying ‘we’ve got to win the Premier League this year’. They must have done.
“They can’t go into it thinking ‘let’s just get top four’.”
Merson: “You’re not telling me their first priority is ‘make sure we get in the top four, and then if we’re lucky and we’re still in it with 10 games to go, we’ve got a chance of winning it’.”
Dublin: “Surely they can’t think that, surely they can’t think top four first. Surely you think ‘start of the season, win the Premier League’.
“Surely they have to think that. That has to be a mindset of a club, surely.”
Merson: “I’m not talking about Man United, I’m talking about Arsenal. I’m specifically talking about Arsenal Football Club.
“Man United, next year they’re not messing about with the top four, they will want to win the league.
“They’ll make an effort to win the league and buy players. Arsenal won’t.”