Paul Merson watched in horror as Arsenal threw away their lead to lose 2-1 to Tottenham in the north London derby on Sunday.
That wasn’t the first time that Arsenal has thrown away the lead in a game or that their defence has been sloppy and cost them the points.
Arsenal’s defence has been the reason why they have struggled this season and despite the good form of their attackers, they have remained outside the European places because of the basic errors they keep committing at the back.
Merson slammed them for being unable to pass the ball five yards and claims that even if the current team is being managed by Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho, they would still not be successful when their defenders cannot make a simple pass.
The Gunners have become a better team defensively, but their defence still finds a way to let them down on a regular basis.
He told Sky Sports as quoted by the Mail: ‘Against Spurs, I don’t care if you’ve got Pep Guardiola sitting on Jose Mourinho’s lap, on top of Sir Alex Ferguson’s lap, on top of Arsene Wenger’s lap and all four of them are one manager: if you’ve got a defender who can’t pass the ball five yards to another defender, you are in trouble.
‘When the manager puts on a training session and you’re doing five-yard passes to start off with, everybody is moaning: “What the hell are we doing this for? Who can’t pass the ball five yards?” But that is why.
‘It’s concentration, so you can keep on doing it without even thinking about it, like you’re brushing your teeth in the morning.
‘Footballers are so obsessed with pass percentages. Defenders want 88, 89, 90 per cent pass completion, but they’re all five-yard passes to each other! Who cares? Honestly?
‘There are so many stats now, and players are scared of them, so try to play the easy ball!
‘All these players should care about is keeping clean sheets: that should be like scoring a hat-trick for a defender. You want defenders who think that way.’