Why so many ex-players are such poor managers and pundits? by Neil Watson
You’d go a long way to find an Arsenal fan that didn’t appreciate how brilliant Paul Merson was in his day….Sure he had his off the field problems but that’s a separate issue.
However the transition from successful player to knowledgeable pundit, or even manager, is a completely different skill set and one which Merse seems spectacularly awful at.
His latest disastrous prediction related to our game against Liverpool. His expert opinion was that, despite winning a string of games we had no right to lose we would be torn apart by Liverpool and exposed for how far off the pace we really are. Really? That’s funny because I watched the entire game yesterday and thought it could have gone either way. I didn’t see Mo Salah or Mane terrorising our defence, or Leno being stretched. All I saw was both teams containing each other quite successfully and, if I were to express a bias, would say we shaded it.
Merson said: “We saw Leicester rip Arsenal to shreds for 30 minutes; they scored, Harry Maguire missed a sitter, they had a stonewall penalty turned down.
“Leicester’s front three aren’t even in the same class as Liverpool’s.
“I just cannot see how Arsenal will live with them.
“People will say: ‘Oh Arsenal will score goals…’ but Liverpool’s defence has been superb.
“I watched Arsenal win 11 games on the trot, and they could have easily lost four of them, let alone drawn them. 1-3.”
It’s not only Merse that tends to make this outrageously inaccurate predictions, Wrighty has a fair few, Roay Keane is a Jedi master as false predictions…..What I don’t fully grasp is how or why they make these statements. I haven’t earned a shilling predicting football outcomes yet it was painfully obvious to me Arsenal wouldn’t be steam rollered by Liverpool. We are so much better than we were at containing teams than we were 12 months ago. I didn’t think we’d lose 0-3 but that would would be the lowest score you could suggest would justify a description of being torn apart. Anything else is a defeat to a decent team.
My prediction was they maybe beat us 1-2 but I was confident we’d get a draw based solely on the fact Liverpool are not firing on all cylinders and our confidence is high.
I think we will see Merse, Wrighty, the Neville’s etc starting to see that we are no longer a soft touch but are a team you’re gonna have to work hard to beat and if you don’t, you stand a good chance of getting beaten yourself.
It just surprises me that a so called expert doesn’t see what your average man sees. Maybe it’s headline grabbing to make huge and bold statements rather than offering more calculated assumption. Adrian Durham has certainly made a career of saying daft things. I just think when ex players turned pundits say it they sound like they’re either bitter they aren’t in the club anymore when they desperately want to be OR they don’t want the current crop of players to do more significant things than they themselves achieved. I hope neither to be honest.
To summarise I’m thrilled to say Paul Merson’s football knowledge off the pitch is about as effective as mine on the pitch although the one difference being nobody would pay me six figures to be so successfully terrible.