Former Gunner urges Arteta to start making plans for next season

Paul Merson expects Mikel Arteta to have started making plans for next season already, as Arsenal struggle to end this season in a European place.

The Gunners are now out of the Carabao Cup and FA Cup. They remain in the Europa League, but a top-four finish in the Premier League is slipping away from them every matchday.

With less than 20 games to go in all competitions before the end of this season, Arsenal could finish this campaign with nothing.

That doesn’t bother Merson who admits that the Gunners are now in transition.

He expects Arteta to have made his plans for the coming campaign, and to begin some experiments with the remaining games of the season.

One thing Merson expects him to do from now on is to start fielding Emile Smith Rowe more often.

The midfielder has emerged as a key cog in the wheel at the Emirates, and Merson thinks he should play the remaining games of the campaign to prepare him for an important role in the team next season.

“I don’t like the word but Arsenal are in transition,” Merson said on Sky Sports

“I don’t like it because if it doesn’t go well, then what? I thought when Mikel Arteta first came in, he did well to get the people he didn’t want out of the club. People who were on big wages and who weren’t playing, but now he has got to be planning for next season.

“He shouldn’t be worrying if Arsenal finish 14th. He should be looking to get as many games out of Emile Smith Rowe to decide if he’s going to be playing next season.

“Nicolas Pepe is right to be getting the games now as he looks a better player than when he arrived. It’s about seeing who’s going to be right for next season.”

Tags Paul Merson


  1. No need making any plans for next season, we won’t win Europa and will finish below 10th so he won’t be here after this season ends.

  2. Arsenal needs to be making plans for a manager for next season. I say bring Wenger now move him upstairs summer and find us a damn good manager please. Arsenal squad can win the Europa but who believes Arteta can?

    1. Spot on. Bring in Wenger for the remainder of the season and trust his experience to help us get something out of this already lost season. Move him upstairs next season and get a new solid manager. In a blink of an eye I’ll replace Vinai with Wenger without house to think twice. Vinai should have gone with The Don.

      1. Wenger?The fella who brought us to this situation? Rather have George Graham, the legend than Mr Fawlty Wenger running around

    1. I will ignore the juvenile comments suggesting the return of a former Manager, who in the last five years of his stewardship made huge errors of judgement which have contributed to the regression of our team.With regard to the article, while Merson can never be accused of being articulate, he is correct in his call for Arteta to use the rest of this season to evaluate players, who may, or may not be part of his longer term plans.Balogan is another who should be given an opportunity to prove what he can do on the big stage along with Odegard.I was surprised Chambers did not go out on loan, and I can only assume he too, will get a chance in the not too distant future.


    It is ALL about next season and imo always was anyway, right from the start, given the bloated unproductive squad that MA inherited.
    IMO things are definitely moving in the right direction and I see much real hope for real Prem improvement next season The remainder of this season is all about planning for next, on and off field.

    What helps the mature thinkers among us is that we do not expect everything we want overnight. Self entitlement is a massive cross to bear for those unfortunates who have to bear it.

  4. If Arteta had simply adopted the logical position that we were going to have to endure a transitional year from the very get-go, he would have never even approached Willian, we could have cleared the decks, gave players like Saliba and Balu, some valuable first-team minutes and used the time wisely to figure out what current players are Best 11 material and who doesn’t make the grade…then develop a strategic plan to recruit those who might best fill our NEEDS moving forward…instead he chose to read his own headlines, following our uptick in results leading up to the FA Cup, vigorously pursue Willian, so much so that he offered both ridiculous wages and starter minutes, and the rest is history…what he really needed in the room was someone like Dein, with experience and perspective, who could temper the short=sighted tendencies of a first-time coach/manager…how terribly tragic if Arteta does have what it takes to be a top class manager and his career might have been derailed simply because this totally inept club threw him into the deep end way too fast

    1. TRVL, He certainly has been forced to learn on the job. He has made mistakes and as his staunchest supporter(or amongst them anyway) even I can easily see the mistakes he has made.

      I believe there is more to Willians contract than is entirely MA ‘s decision, though I have no doubt he accepted it. But his ignoring of MARTINELLI in favour of Willian seems so far beyond sensible likelihood that it was ENTIRELY his own choice, as to make me think he had no choice but to use WILLIAN. He is now manager, not merely coach, BUT IMO he has not total control, as AW did.
      I am backing what I see as personal qualities and enormous potential rather than awarding him three status he has clearly not yet earned.

      But as one of lifes worldly wise realists, I also know that no other top level established name would accept the restrictions of working under Kroenke The owner and board and MA all know this truth, which is why HE is here. I believe in giving him a real and proper fair chance, unlike the many self entitled juveniles who inhabit JA and who pen their childish nonsense daily!

      1. Something in the back of my mind is telling me that Willian has something in his contract that he must play so many minutes or we could be in breach.

        Edu our saviour 🤑

        Only an opinion though😇

        1. Jon and Nickerless…like I’ve said all along, either it was promised by his on words and/or including in the fine print of his contract, there’s no doubt that Willian has some serous leverage over the club and it’s manager…considering our propensity towards ineptitude, I would suggest that he will receive monetary bonuses if we don’t meet the requirements of said promises…how else could one possible explain certain selection decisions, especially more recently once it was clear that Willian’s form was on a continual downward slide

  5. Arteta as a player was always about possession and keeping the ball moving.

    His management style is exactly the same, unfortunately without Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsay and Giroud. (And others)

    The legendry horseshoe on the heat maps show exactly how we play, wide, wide, cross. If you can’t go wide play front to back and try again.

    I agree with Merse that we need to see what we have and just give them game time and see if it develops as this season is a write off.

    Although there are quite a few players in our squad that I don’t rate, I’m not going to blame them for their endeavour to play the ‘Arteta’ way as we see it game in game out. Horseshoe, horseshoe and horseshoe.

    My issue is Arteta.

    He seems to be quite stubborn playing the tried and tested and now that he has been found out he just denies that he has no plan B by saying “We dominated the game and we lost because of A, B and C!” Not “Well we keep playing wide as our midfield is unadventurous and shite but hopefully if we cross it may land on someone’s head and ricochet in” or “I don’t have the players to play the way I played in my pomp and pissed around in this January Market getting rid of the dross so we can buy Mbappe in August. If that fails Edu and Diego Costa know each other…”

    It’s like watching the flash kid in the playground saying how good he is and doing all the tricks and flicks but is only running round in circles.

    This Arsenal team is doing just that… but instead of circles a horseshoe.

    I agree he needs guidance and I am not writing MA off just yet. Edu and Vinai are not the people he should be going to as they are just part of the corporation. So if its a case of Wenger coming back then I am not entirely against it as long as it is only football discussed.

    I am happy to give MA till the end of the season so he has the same time as Dick but results and performances need to change dramatically because this is going to end only one way…

    The fan base will drive him out.

    I have now made my peace after the Villa debacle 😇

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