Paul Merson slams Mikel Arteta’s tactics and fear Arsenal will get ‘eaten alive’


Paul Merson has questioned Mikel Arteta’s insistence on playing out from the back (Picture: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson has urged Mikel Arteta to reconsider his insistence on his Arsenal defenders playing out from the back or risk further defeats in upcoming fixtures against Leicester and the Manchester giants.

The Gunners surrendered their 100% start to the new season at Anfield on Monday as the reigning champions eased to a 3-1 victory, recovering from the blow of conceding to Alexandre Lacazette’s fortuitous opening goal.

Arteta has been keen for his defenders to take risks when in possession and his blueprint for success has already yielded dividends with the FA Cup and Community Shield already added to Arsenal’s trophy cabinet.

Merson, however, would like to see more variation from his former club and believes Arsenal’s defenders are guilty of inviting too much pressure on themselves and with a daunting fixture list ahead, Arteta should consider mixing things up in the coming weeks.

He said: ‘There is some improvement and on the other hand they are playing against the best team in the country and if not the best team in Europe in Bayern Munich.

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‘When they go after, you just… it’s like going to Woburn zoo next week and walking into the lions’ cage with a lorry load of steaks. You’re going to get eaten alive aren’t you?

If you stay in your car you are going to be alright and that’s what it was. They are playing that way away to Liverpool, they are the best in the business.

‘If they are going to keep playing that way there is only one result.’

Arsenal got back to winning ways in the Carabao Cup in midweek against a much changed Liverpool unit and will face an obdurate Sheffield United side on Sunday against whom they dropped five points last season.

‘I hope we can go on Sunday and grab three points because it’s going to be really important for us before the international break,’ said Arteta.

‘The differences are in both teams and I think you will notice some changes in structure and players. It’s a different game [to last season] but we know what we’re trying to do and how difficult it will be.

‘They have the necessity for points as well and that will make the team even more ready for it.’

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