Date Posted: Monday 16 September 2019 4:44
Paul Merson says Unai Emery should take the can to Arsenal's capitulation at Watford while questioning the insistence on throwing the ball in the back.
Arsenal repeatedly deflected the ball from their own kicks, keeping rigidly on Emery's demand to play short and by Watford's press during the 2-2 draw at Vicarage Road.
A second-half occurrence, when Sokratis Papastathopoulos presented the ball with Tom Cleverley, led to Hornets's first game, followed by a draw by Roberto Pereyra after David Luiz suffered a late penalty.
Former Arsenal striker Merson holds Emery responsible for not adapting to circumstances as his team let their two-goal lead slip away.
"I need to put this in the manager," he told Sky Sports. "People will say there were experienced players on the pitch, but he is the manager and they get paid to listen to him.
"You can't have a manager giving instructions on how to play, and then they go out and do their own thing. There would be riot, so they are listening to him and he's not getting it right.
"His substitutions were not right. They needed to keep the ball in that game, but kept giving the ball cheaply. The only player who didn't give the ball throughout the game was Mesut Ozil. Did you know that Arsenal needed to score another goal? but he was bringing young people to a game when you are under pressure.
“Since this new rule started when they can pass the ball in the six-yard area, why did everyone start doing that? No one did it last year and now everyone is doing it.
“The manager should have seen this and spread the message on the field to stop it and get the ball moving. If they don't win the first ball, they can win the second ball and go from there. If Watford won the ball in the meantime, they must go through three quarters of the field to score. what are they trying to do?
"To make Sokratis play in the back … the boy can't play.
"He is not David Luiz. He can pass, he is comfortable on the ball. No way can Sokratis play the same way. They need to play three in the back as they are not good enough to play a four. goals and make many mistakes.
"It's like anything in life. If you keep doing the same things, you keep getting the same results.
"Sometimes these players think they are something special and will not be closed – it is pathetic. At Watford, in the first half, it was a trip through Arsenal, they are 2-0 and you think it is the end of the football match. But I don't know many other teams that the next minute you're holding.
“Watford had been defeated 3-1 at home in West Ham and 3-0 at home in Brighton. You are pushing them out of the dressing room at halftime, the last thing they want to do is get on the field in the second half.
“Only Arsenal would give them a chance to return to the game.
“The shackles broke free and Watford felt he had nothing to lose, but the manager made a terrible mistake.
"I couldn't believe he brought Ozil. Who else will open a team except him?