Paul Merson claimed on Soccer Saturday (28/11/20 at 12:55 pm) that Mikel Arteta still ‘doesn’t personally know’ what is his best Arsenal XI.
The outspoken TV pundit was also critical of how Arteta treated Joe Willock, 21, last Sunday at Elland Road by substituting him off after the hour mark despite it being his ‘first game in so long’.
Whilst Arsenal’s performances in the league continue to stutter, they put on a strong showing in the Europa League in midweek, with Willock impressing.
Amid Arteta’s continued changes to his starting XI, Merson has urged him to stick to his guns in order to benefit the team and himself.
“I still sit here today and think he doesn’t personally know his best XI,” said Merson. “He changes it week in and week out.
“There will be changes again, obviously Pepe has been sent off, so he won’t play this week. So, there’s at least another change. This man’s not under pressure. He’s not going to get the sack. I think there’s a plan and I think there’s a project.
“He has to sit down with his staff and say ‘what’s our best XI players and stick with that team for five games, ride it out and see’.
“You cannot just keep going ‘Oh, we didn’t win this game, so two changes here and three changes here’. You put the poor lad Willock in, his first game in so long, and he’s off after 60 or 70 minutes. You cannot. There’s no reserve football. These lads need football.”
Arsenal’s record transfer deals
For years, Arsenal have been crying out for a number six who can be aggressive and dominate play from deep. It seems as though they have found that guy in the shape of Thomas Partey.
They have also been looking for that centre-back, who can bring a sense of calmness and understanding at the back. Once again, Gabriel seems to be the key to unlock that door.
But those two individuals only joined this summer and have played a little amount of time together. The more they play, the more Arsenal fans will see whether Arteta is the real deal or has the former midfielder been hyped up because he has been sitting next to Pep Guardiola for many years?