Paul Merson believes Arsenal will get “eaten alive” if they continue to play out from the back under strict instructions from boss Mikel Arteta.
Arteta has explained how he feels more nervous playing the ball long than he does when his side create goals from their own box.
Arsenal demonstrated such a way of playing against Liverpool last Monday; goalkeeper Bernd Leno often played passes within a few yards of his byline to his defenders, who were – at times – in line with the goalposts.
Their insistence on playing out from the back has worked on several occasions. Arsenal have beaten Manchester City and Chelsea in marquee victories since Arteta’s arrival.
However, after the Gunners’ 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield – Merson believes the Spanish manager must change his tactics.
“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 after Bayern Munich,” Merson said (via the Daily Mirror).
“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 face Sheffield United on Sunday aiming to make it three wins from four Premier League games so far this term.
The Blades, meanwhile, have struggled for goals and are yet to find the back of the net in any of their three games.
Arteta admits to crunch time for Arsenal transfers
Meanwhile, Arteta has admitted that Arsenal are facing a crucial end to the transfer window.
The Gunners are working on both arrivals and departures ahead of Monday’s 11pm deadline.
And Arteta believes the next few days are crucial in his side making crucial progress this season.