Arsenal have lost the “fear factor” and have a “massive rebuild job”

Arsenal’s yoyo season continues as Mikel Arteta tries to rebuild an Arsenal side that seems to have lost it’s consistency and confidence. We are currently on a downturn with just one win in our last six competitive matches, and if you look at the next six matches on the calendar coming up it will not be easy to change without a massive injection of belief.

The Gunners squandered the chance to take a lead into the return fixture against Benfica due to the failure of our strikers to put the ball in the net, despite us dominating the game, and it was even worse against Man City, where we only generated one shot on target despite being behind to an early sucker-punch goal in the first two minutes.

The ex-Arsenal star Paul Merson watched that game, and he lamented the lack of belief and felt that Arteta’s side were “out of their depth”, and he really can’t see us having any chance of climbing back up the table until Arteta has finished his “rebuild job”, which he thinks could take “a long, long time”…

Manchester City’s English midfielder Raheem Sterling (L) jumps to head home the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Manchester City. / (Photo by JULIAN FINNEY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Merson told SkySports: “I can’t see Arsenal doing anything between now and the end of the season to get into the top four.

“I played at Arsenal for a good number of years a long time ago and it is just a phenomenal football club. It’s a Rolls Royce of a football club but when you look where they are now, it’s just hard to watch.

“Man City used to be a million miles away and talk about turning things on its head, they are so far ahead of Arsenal. The only thing that can give you hope if you are an Arsenal fan is that you can watch City and think things can turn around.

“I was so disappointed yesterday. It’s so easy for me to sit and say Arsenal should have had a right go at Man City because I know you can end up losing 4-0 or 5-0, and then it looks an awful result. But if you look at Arsenal’s performance, they looked out of their depth and that was really worrying.

“When they got to 75 minutes and were only a goal down, they had to have a right go. But it looked like the players just didn’t have that belief. It seems a long time ago now and it was a long time ago that Arsenal had that. They had that fear factor for teams playing them. I found it a really hard watch.

“It’s probably now time to focus on the Europa League for Arsenal, but they’d do well to win that with the way things are going. There are some really good teams in that competition – some good English teams as well.

“It’s a real massive rebuild job at the Emirates Stadium and I think it’s going to take a long, long time. That’s unless they’ve got some money from somewhere and they have a right go, but we’ve seen Chelsea have a right go and look where they are. We are talking about whether they will get in the top four and that was a lot of money, so there are no guarantees.

“It’s a really hard one to take for Arsenal at the moment.”

I don’t normally listen to Merson, as he always seems to have a negative attitude to the Arsenal, but it is hard to find fault with his comments on this one. In fact, he sounds like a typical Arsenal fan, full of foreboding.

But I think he could be totally right this time around.

What do you think?

Tags Europa Man City Merson

28 Comments

  1. Tommogun58 says:

    I have to agree with most of what he says but also with what you say about his negativity, it does seem constant but he is an ex player who is probably a fan also and is passionate about the club, as we are. I do think we are some way behind city but I think you can say that about everyone at the moment. I wish we had 4 KTs 4 Saka’s and four EMR’s these three are probably the youngest in our squad and each of them is putting the rest to shame they show fight,spirit and a will to do well, what a shame the seasoned pro’s in the squad are so, as Merse would put it ” OUT OF THEIR DEPTH”.

    1. Loose Cannon says:

      Agree and yet so many here wish for Arteta to be gone. Plain ans simple – the players are not GOOD ENOUGH for AFC save Tierney, Saka, ESR and maybe Leno and Partey. You need 6 more players to complete the team. Holding, Marri, Cedric and Martenelli are good as subs or squad players. So sad that fans can see the coach not the players under perform week in week out.

      1. Highbury Hero says:

        You haven’t mentioned Aubameyang in your good enough players yet he is the one who have saved our seasons previously and a question should be asked to the manager regarding his loss of form. Perhaps it is manager’s tactics which do not play to his strength?

        When Arsenal performed poorly under Wenger and Emery it was down to them but Arteta’s worse results is down to players why?

        Is Martinelli really a squad player? To waste a talent such as Martinelli who not only has potential to be a world class player but also to fetch a very handsome fee if sold in the future is bad enough for the manager let alone other things which are not going well.

        1. Loose Cannon says:

          HH, Auba was great in the past, we are living in the present – which he is not good enough and planning for the future. Even Rooney and RVP were good enough seasons ago, lets not talk of the past.
          Wenger is the architect of our downfall, he signed and pampered the dross, Unai was let down by the players.He can be held guilty as his game was too much defensive and he had no guts to banish Ozil and his peers who under performed.
          Tell me what has Martenelli done so great?A decent player not more effective than Saka or ESR.
          My grudge with Mikel is due to playing Xhaka, Willian and Luiz when he can promote the academy players who cannot be much worse.
          Overall you will agree that we need to move Laca, Auba, Pepe, Willian, Nelson, Xhaka, Elneny,Luiz. Bellerin if we get a decent amount and hire Max Aaron.

      2. Sir Michael says:

        I cannot see for the life of me WHY? he signed Willian offered Auba a new contract Pepe is not doing it. Tactics are all wrong no heart, frightened to go forward until there defence is back in position. I do wish I could be more positive

    2. Wyoming says:

      Yet Emery without Gabriel Bellerin Tiierney Partey managed to get a tune out of Niles as RB a CB partnership out of Socritis + Mustafi get consistency from Xhaka and played Ozil Aubameyang and Lacazette and introduced Saka. In fact Under Emery Arsenal made the EL final and finished a point off 4th in the league. Emery was a genius in his first season but was not able to buy the players he wanted in the summer and struggled because of that. Until Arteta gets the players he wants he will struggle too. With so many mediocre players on long term guaranteed contracts they wont leave meaning an even longer wait for the players he needs. Even winning the EL will be no guarantee of success until the mediocre men are replaced. Another season and a half at least till the rebuild is completed

      1. Wyoming says:

        Arteta should have a lot more input in player acquisition. I am not impressed with the new scouting and player network. Ceballos Saliba Pepe Odegaard Cedric Luiz and especially
        Willian have all been costly mistakes no better than our academy players like Saka Smith-Rowe Balogun Niles.while chambers and Holding are much cheaper just as good options Give Mikel free reign to build his team. Too many cooks spoil the feast 🙂

      2. Grandad says:

        You are on the ball Loose Cannon.A Club lacking in quality players, yet certain fans continually blame our Manager for our slide to mediocrity.While I am not a great fan of Merson for a number of reasons, he is spot on when he emphasizes the need for time to repair the damage.

      3. Dan kit says:

        I know Arteta now not doing to great a job but to call Emery a genius in his first season is alittle OTT.
        When fans look back at our great managers and the record books show “but he was 1 point from 4th place and he got us to a EL final “ I’m sure they will say yes that man was indeed a genius .
        In all seriousness though he couldn’t collect one point in the last 4games and he totally embarrassed us in that final ,so no I personally would t call him a genius ,it would be the complete opposite .

      4. ozziegunner says:

        👍

  2. gotanidea says:

    I agree with him. Arsenal isn’t as wealthy as the oil clubs like Man City/ Chelsea and they’ve made a lot of big mistakes in player transfers, so it’ll take a long time to rebuild

    We could start that by getting or promoting a new CF next season

  3. MartinelliTheBench says:

    We lost our fear factor from 2005 already.

  4. Ssentongo Ibrahim says:

    World’s richest football club owners #Kronke sites in 7th place with £9billion pounds. But he inputs little or nothing in the club but he doesn’t wants to sell. This guy as if he wants our club to be teared apart like a sinking titanic😭😠

    1. PJ-SA says:

      We’ve spent a lot of money over the last 5 years, it was just spent poorly.

      1. Malaysian gunner says:

        I just hope the African oil baron will buy the US owner out.

  5. jon fox says:

    Merson does always look on the pessimistic side, as we can all see from his regular doon laden forecasts. Perhaps he should accompany the Prime Minister at his Covid press conferences, as his brand of doom and gloom would not be out of place in THAT setting.

    It would not be so bad if we could believe that Merse was even a Gooner, but though he claims to be, his heart is with Chelsea and always has been, as those in the know are well aware.

    I would disregard his constant doom and gloom as the ravings of an ex player who knows that most Gooners think very little of his intellect.

    I certainly think VERY little of his intellect, except as a laugh a minute would be pundit whose non serious attitude to life and his profession made him the court jester on Sky Sports.

    Is that not the REAL truth!

    1. Marty says:

      Good assessment of Merson, I think he is actually an embarrassment on SkySports, I can’t work out if he is really like that or putting it on.

      1. Joe. S says:

        Merson knows what he’s on about, a lot more than the denialists here, at the very least. He was one of the few who saw this coming even in the heady AKB era of five or six years ago. Get your heads out of the sand,People.

        1. ozziegunner says:

          👍

  6. Sean Williams says:

    Sadly both Arteta as manager and Aubameyang as captain, are unable to instil the confidence, dominance, and assertiveness we desperately need. Maybe it’s time for Tierney to be captain. There is a “fear factor” in our play and our team setup. I would rather we played like Leicester’s, Brendan Rogers model and always ‘went for it’. We would lose no more games playing with courage than playing like our game setup against Man City…….like whimps.

  7. Reggie says:

    Facts are we are not improving but getting worse and it doesn’t matter how you dress it up we are worse now under Arteta than at any point under any manager for many a year.

    1. ahmad73 says:

      The Arteta fan boys refuse to acknowledge this. They will always blame someone else for Arteta’s limitations.

      1. Reggie says:

        73, for me it wouldn’t matter if we had Pep in charge or whoever, this form is that of a team without a rudder and we need a captain in charge who knows what they are doing, not hamming it.

  8. The Real Vieira Lynn says:

    Like him or not, Merse is right…this all goes back to having a clearly defined plan and sticking to it, which obviously wasn’t the case with Arteta/Edu…signing Auba wasn’t the issue, he’s world class, our top goal-scoring threat and plays a role that usually requires some real money to be spent…that said, signing Willian was a totally inept luxury buy that negatively impacted an already strained wage bill and the development of our much more youthful and economically viable options…to be honest, I’ve always rated Willian, but this is the sort of misstep that can setback any potential rebuild for a couple of years, unless he comes good and we could somehow recoup a good chunk of the coin we spent on Pepe by selling him this summer…the fact that we’re even pondering such ridiculous issues is largely down to the fact that we never properly replaced David Dein

    1. ozziegunner says:

      👍 David Dein “the power behind the throne”.

  9. Ayan says:

    Look! , the results are there for us to see. 11 losses, 34 points after 25 games! More losses than wins! It’s bizare to think that we have really regressed as a Club. Arsenal needs complete overhauling! This season is gone already. If we are serious about competing with the best, then we have to go for the best, not managing as we are doing presently.

  10. Joe. S says:

    That’s a bit of an understatement. Is there a team in the Premiere League which didn’t see at least a point against Arsenal when looking at the fixtures list? 11 defeats and a mangy goals for speaks for itself. Two astute and probably expensive buys would partly fix the situation but can anyone trust the process when it often involves looking for band aid solutions, cast offs and loanees.

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