Paul Merson: Why the pressure is off Mikel Arteta at Arsenal
Paul Merson explains why he thinks Mikel Arteta can get the best out of his current group of Arsenal players
Paul Merson believes that the pressure could now be off Mikel Arteta in the coming weeks and months as the Spaniard looks to have a positive impact at Arsenal.
The former midfielder has been settling into life at The Emirates as the north London club’s new manager after having been brought in as Unai Emery’s successor back in December.
Arsenal have shown some promising signs of improvement under the Spaniard in recent weeks, with the Gunners having won their last three games in the Premier League on the trot.
Arteta has been drafted in to try and help Arsenal compete for Champions League qualification in the coming seasons, with the Gunners having ended up fifth and without a trophy under Emery last term.
Merson believes that Arsenal are in need of a major overhaul of their squad, but he feels that Arteta is unlikely to be able to bring in many players in the coming months and is instead backing him to get the best out of what he has at The Emirates.
Writing in his column for Sky Sports, former Arsenal midfielder Merson said: “Every manager is different. I’ve worked under some great coaches who weren’t good managers, and I’ve worked under some great managers who weren’t good coaches.
“You need the team around you, the coaches around you to challenge you. When you have a coaching staff around you who don’t, and are just yes men, that can be a problem.
“But I think this situation helps someone like Mikel Arteta. Arsenal need such an overhaul of players that it’s actually almost impossible to get that many players in.
“There’s now an opportunity for him to work with the current crop, and I think it actually takes the pressure off of Arteta, and now anything is a bonus.
“Arsenal’s expectations will be nowhere near as high as they were a few months ago. I think he’ll now be given loads and loads of time to build. He’s young, he’s enthusiastic, and he’ll want to work with younger players.
“He’s not a Mourinho or Pep Guardiola, who I’d call your Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroys, they’re just dealing in majors, nothing else! Arteta is the type who might work from the ground up with lesser players.”
Arsenal are currently in ninth place in the Premier League table and eight points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea FC with a game in hand.