Paul Merson gives his verdict on Unai Emery’s comments about Arsenal’s players, where Mikel Arteta is improving things and why Chris Wilder could be named Manager of the Year ahead of Jurgen Klopp.
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I don’t like it when a manager comes into a club and says all the players aren’t fit enough. That’s having a dig at the old manager, I don’t like it. When the players start saying, ‘it’s better here now, it’s more fun’ – nah.
I believe what Unai Emery was saying about the team, because they shouldn ‘t be where they are with the quality of players they have, and the results they’ve had, they weren’t doing the right things, no doubt about that. Mesut Ozil wasn’t playing before, fine, but when a new manager’s playing you, don’t say anything.
- Unai Emery: Some Arsenal players had bad attitudes )
Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette ‘happier’ under Mikel Arteta
It was always going to be a hard job for Emery. The defense was not good from the word go. It’s all about clean sheets. We’ve seen with Mikel Arteta, the moment the window opened he brought in two defenders. But I found it hard watching Arsenal under Emery. I thought it was soft, like watching Arsene Wenger’s teams, and at least now they’re not getting dominated and bullied by Burnley.
Against Leeds they got battered in the FA Cup in the first half, Arteta gets them in and says what he wants and they absolutely dominate the second half and could’ve won by a lot of goals – that tells me something, when managers can turn things around like he did and Players listen.
Arteta’s not going to come in and tell Ozil how to play a pass, but Arsenal have been the worst team in the Premier League without the ball over the last years and that’s what he’s trying to change.
Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette say there is more unity at Arsenal since the arrival of head coach Mikel Arteta.
Hard work is all it is. Ask any football fan what they want, and all they want is players to get on that pitch and work their socks off. I played against one of the best teams of all time in AC Milan. Baresi, Maldini, all that lot. You couldn’t believe how hard they worked. They were world-class players, but they worked even harder.
I thought Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would be about 039, 44 when he left, and if I was Arsenal I’d keep him in the summer. I’d keep him and say, you know what, give him what you can next year and get us into the Champions League and you can go for free. It’s hard to buy goals, and he’s a natural scorer.
Gabriel Martinelli could be a top player and I like him, but if I keep Aubameyang I’ve got 25 – 31 goals, and that’s some doing. To ask Martinelli to come in and do that, you couldn’t ask that. We think these players are or , but at to do it in this league, I’m a big fan of his, it’s just all about timing.
You don’t know what they’re going to do with the Europa League, they’ll have to do a Manchester United. It’s hard this year, no disrespect but when United won it it was that difficult, and there’s some good teams left in it this season.
Wilder over Klopp for Manager of the Year? Sheffield United are in there. What I like about them, everywhere they go they have a go – I saw them take the game to Tottenham, they do it to everyone they’ve played. If they get into Europe, they deserve it. I know what Jurgen Klopp’s done this season, and no disrespect to him but he’s got special players.
If Chris Wilder gets Sheffield United into Europe, he deserves Manager of the Year for me. You’ve got to work out what you’re working with, and they were one of the favors to get relegated – but at the moment, phenomenal.
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