Merson urges Arteta to abandon his playing philosophy when required

Paul Merson has urged Mikel Arteta to alter his team’s style of play in some games just to get the desired result.

Arsenal is in an important part of a season that has promised a return to Champions League football in recent weeks.

Tottenham beat them 3-0 in their last game and the Lilywhites have just beaten Burnley to lead the Gunners by two points on the league table.

This means Arsenal must beat Newcastle United in their game tomorrow to return to fourth place, but they could have been in a better position if they didn’t lose to Spurs.

Merson believes they could have won that game if they altered their approach and he says Arteta needs to be tactically more flexible.

He tells Sky Sports: “He’s supposed to be a top-drawer manager. We all know Tottenham are one of the best teams in the world at counter-attacking football. They’ve drawn with Liverpool twice and done the double over Manchester City. Why don’t they play that way [like Brighton did in North London]? Why do you have to go out with this ‘we’re going to play the right way, this is the way football is played’.”

Just Arsenal Opinion

It is in games like the match against Spurs that managers earn their money and Arteta failed to inspire his team to victory.

However, now is not the time to cry about the points we have lost and we need to focus on the remaining games of the season.

If we beat our next two opponents, we will play in the Champions League next season and no one will talk about the North London derby defeat.

Tags Mikel Arteta Paul Merson


  1. Merson is right, it is fair to ask how many points has Arteta won us this season but at the same time (with his decisions) how many has he lost us. Everyone will be more forgiving if we get 4th but not so if we fail now.

    1. “EVERYONE”? Well you Reggie for sure, but you don’t speak for anyone but yourself.

      Others have a wider view and don’t put all our views on 4th or bust, where one lucky or unlucky bounce could mean it goes either way . And on that possibly lucky or unlucky bounce ONLY, you would either sack MA OR KEEP HIM.


  2. OT. Saliba with Ligue1 young player of the year award. This kid is coming back to Arsenal now as he is suspended for the last game of Marseilles season. He has had a great loan, now let’s hope he is back taking Whites spot at CB alongside Gabriel…

    Tomi Saliba Gabriel Teirney

    Nice back 5 for the season.

    Partey & Bissouma would complete our defensive side of the gameplay.

  3. A top-draw manager? I think it’s more like a one-trick pony: a manager who is unable/unwilling to adjust style of play to match his opposition.

    1. Yes, my worry is, he is a one trick pony but if we get 4th then the one trick pony has legs. If he doesn’t it needs putting down. He has had all season to get this right and some fools think it is down to one bad game, or a bit of bad luck if we fail. No its down to not being able to adapt because he isnt up to it. I worry for us next season if we do get CL football with Arteta but he would have earned a crack for his efforts.

      1. If we don’t qualify for CL and the wheels come off next season fans will use playing Thursday night as an excuse to why the team is struggling, Arteta will get another pass. I personally have no expectations under this regime Reggie and won’t getting fooled by a 2 or 3 game winning streak again.

  4. If Spurs fail to finish in the top4 does that mean Conte is a failure? If not will he be getting a free pass for coming into the club after the start of the season? With him at the helm shouldn’t they have romped to 4th? It’s been a slog for Conte as well. Such has been the superiority of the top 3 that the remaining coveted CL spot has been a tough fight for a few clubs, eventually down to two.
    To me it’s not a case of top4 or you’re out but whether there are reasons for optimism going forward, such has been the level of change at the club.
    Not many are sitting on the fence on Arteta but we all know who sits in each camp either side of it by now.
    We’re not privy to what plans the club have this summer so speculation might be a pleasant pastime for some but the reality is none of us know what Arteta and Edu have up their sleeves. I hope it’s CL rather than Europa but both will require an improved squad

  5. The next match against Newcastle will be a real test of character and determination for the players as well as MA. We have to win at any cost and so also against Everton because Spurs are surely beating Norridge. With top 4 so close to our grasp, losing 4th place at this juncture will not be total failure but certainly huge disappointment.

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