Mikel Arteta needs to revert back to making Arsenal harder to beat which gave him initial success, says Paul Merson as he claims Gunners boss is concentrated on trying to ‘impress’ and ‘entertain’
- Arsenal currently sit 15th in the table, four points above the relegation zone
- Their disastrous first half of the season comes after a brilliant end to last season
- Mikel Arteta saw his side beat Manchester City and Chelsea to win the FA Cup
- Arteta used different tactics then but Paul Merson said they must be used now
Paul Merson insists Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta must make his side harder to beat again like he did when he first joined to turn around the club’s current slump.
The north London side sit 15th in the Premier League, four points above the relegation zone after already suffering eight defeats in 14 top-flight matches this season.
The disastrous first half of this campaign comes after the Spaniard led the Gunners to a record 14th FA Cup win in the summer, which included beating Manchester City and Chelsea in the semi-final and final at Wembley.
Paul Merson insists Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta must make his side harder to beat again
The north London side sit 15th in the Premier League, four points above the relegation zone
Arteta deployed a system of three centre-backs and two wing-backs in both matches and for the majority of games following the restart while using the pace of Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the counter attack, but following the summer transfer window has preferred a flat back four when possible.
And speaking to Sky Sports, former Gunners midfielder Merson insists Arteta should revert back to those tactics that brought the club silverware and shift his concentration from trying to impress and entertain.
‘Of course, confidence isn’t great at Arsenal and that can play a major part. Man United look a different team with confidence, but Arteta needs to go back to what brought Arsenal success – the tactics against Man City in the FA Cup semi-final, the game against Chelsea in the final,’ Merson said.
The disastrous start comes after Arteta and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang helped Arsenal win a record 14th FA Cup in the summer
‘They need to go back to that way of playing, but he’s in a position now as a young manager new in the game, he feels he needs to keep impressing.
‘He has to go back to being hard to beat, using pace on the counter-attack. At the moment, it feels like Arteta is shying away from using what are seen as negative tactics and is focused more on trying to entertain – it’s no good.
‘Leeds are like the old Arsenal of the past eight or nine years. Arsenal didn’t win anything but everybody loved them because you knew you would watch a good game.
And Merson insists they must revert back to the tactics which brought them the silverware
‘Arteta needs to go back to what brought him success at the first time of asking. They beat a very good Man City team at the time and Arteta needs to show the players that video and get back to that.’
Arsenal’s task of trying to climb the table and avoid sliding further down the table over the festive period does not get any easier with Chelsea the visitors to Emirates Stadium on Boxing Day.
The Gunners have not lost on home soil on December 26 since 1987 but head into the fixture without a win in their last seven Premier League fixtures.