Paul Merson criticises Mikel Arteta’s tactics and says Arsenal ‘just lump it downfield’

The former Arsenal midfielder turned pundit Paul Merson has criticised manager Mikel Arteta, accusing the team of playing aimless football. 

The Gunners turned in one of the worst performances of their season last weekend as they succumbed to a convincing 3-0 victory at home against Liverpool.

The result left Arteta’s team 10th in the table, and ahead of Thursday night’s Europa League quarter-final first leg with Slavia Prague, Merson says they looked stuck for ideas. 

“What I watched against Liverpool the other day was as bad as I’ve ever seen. People will say about the times under Unai Emery and at the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign, but I never saw anything like that. All I saw was rolling the ball back to the goalkeeper and he just lumped it downfield.”

Merson also compared Arteta to Jose Mourinho, the Tottenham manager who was beaten in the north London derby by one of Arsenal’s best performances this season. 

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“When they get beat and he comes out and takes the blame, he’s just doing the opposite to what Jose Mourinho does when he criticises his player, but Arteta is thinking exactly the same as Mourinho. Mourinho just says it and the difference is one manager has been around for a long time and he’s won everything in the game.”

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Arsenal’s first leg against Slavia Prague kicks off tonight at 8pm. 

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