Paul Merson thinks Rafa Benitez is ‘one of the top managers’.

However, he also says that Arsenal fans wouldn’t accept Rafa if he was appointed as manager.

The Arsenal fan and former player coming  out with some pretty strange reasoning.

Even Paul Merson admitting ‘This might sound a bit silly’ when giving his justification.

Merson claims that the Arsenal fans wouldn’t take to the Newcastle manager because he sets his team up ‘not to get beaten, and you go from there’, whereas he believes the North London club’s supporters would demand somebody ‘with a little bit more flair’.

To back this up he states ‘Arsenal fans are staying away at the moment because it is not entertaining enough’.

This is laughable, Arsenal fans are staying away because they don’t think they are winning enough trophies and aren’t high enough up in the Premier League, even though they are currently sixth, got to the League Cup final and are in the Europa League semis.

Arsene Wenger has spoiled them, the Arsenal fans think they are automatically entitled to everything, especially winning trophies. They have won the FA Cup three of the last four years and yet it doesn’t appear to register with them at all, they only want to ask why aren’t we winning the Premier League?

Paul Merson says it is entertaining football their fans crave but that is total rubbish, Arsene Wenger has delivered that year after year for over two decades but they can’t see how good they have had it.

I remember going down to London for a meeting almost a decade ago and stayed over for a few days, Arsenal were playing a Champions League match and I watched it with another Newcastle fan who was also down for this business meeting. The Gunners won by four or five and played some amazing football.

The next day there was an Arsenal season ticket holder at the meeting and we were raving about the game, especially one of the goals, where there were about 15 passes and a superb finish. As we enthused about it and described what happened, his reaction to the goal/game was ‘Yeah, it was alright but these Champions League group stages are just so boring now.’

When did Arsenal suddenly have this reputation for expecting and getting entertaining football?

I must have just imagined that decade under George Graham, when Arsenal fans proudly sang ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’, as they ground out not entertaining victories, built on that David Seaman, Tony Adams, Lee Dixon etc etc solid defence.

Yes they had some good attacking players as well but it was all about not conceding at the back and then nicking a goal at the other end.

George Graham was far more boring  than Rafa Benitez could ever be accused of being, yet the Arsenal fans lapped it up, I didn’t hear many complaints when they won the top tier a couple of times under him.

Arsene Wenger has revolutionised their club but Arsenal fans have rejected it for some time now, even though the entertaining football has continued to flow.

This season Arsenal have already scored 95 goals in all competitions, at home they have scored 64 of them and in the Premier League, only Man City have scored more.

Arsenal supporters just want to count the trophies and they would take Sam Allardyce, never mind Rafa Benitez, if it meant winning the Premier League.

The big punchline of course is that Paul Merson of all people, should know that Arsenal don’t have any lengthy pre-Wenger reputation for great entertaining football, as after all he played almost his entire Arsenal career under…George Graham.

Paul Merson speaking to Talksport:

“I like Rafa Benitez, he is one of the top managers.

I just think Arsenal fans want to see entertaining football and I know this might sound a bit silly…but they want to see teams who go out to win football matches.

“Rafa Benitez sort of sets his teams up to, even at Liverpool, not to get beaten, and you go from there.

“Arsenal fans are staying away at the moment, because it is not entertaining enough, and I think they will need someone with a little bit more flair.

“They need someone with longevity, somebody who will get a four or five year contract and stay there.

“You don’t want a Manchester United situation, where they change the manager so many times quickly, after Sir Alex Ferguson.”



  • CaptainCaveman

    He’s at a club where he’s appreciated. If he gets backed then there is no reason for him to go anywhere, yet alone those whingers.

    Things are going too well at the moment though. Ashley will be coming up with a new plain to derail it all.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Don`t worry about that, the Fat snide will already have a plan

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    You may laugh at him but he`s not far wrong in his summation of a Rafa
    team.

    • Dillon Tovak

      Since bringing in a couple of better players our games aren’t boring imho.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        That`s correct,
        what happens when 2 of them leave next month
        the Pie man won`t buy them so it`s back to square 1

        • Dillon Tovak

          If Kenedy leaves, which I assume he will, I’ll be crying into my cornflakes all summer.

      • mentalman

        i don’t think its just because of a couple of better players, the whole mindset of the team has changed and two or three players are coming into form at the right time instead of going missing in games

  • Paul Patterson

    Well Arsenal won’t win the league under their current style (Wenger). On the other hand, they should thank their lucky stars they have a few trophies in the cabinet and stop moaning so much. I said this to a couple of them that I bumped into on Saturday. A bit like Benitez at Liverpool, he’ll be better appreciated when he leaves.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      20 yrs of Champions league football & 3 of the last 4 FA Cup wins they must be doing something right.

  • steve

    Those comments aren’t really bizarre at all. At the end of the day people watch football to be entertained. A few seasons of defence first football and our fans will become restless.

  • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

    The reasons may be seem strange but I think he is right, Rafa is not for Arsenal. Rather like Dogleash following KK, it may seem sensible to replace someone who has a great team but perhaps not enough end product with a more pragmatic coach but it’s just not the right fit.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      He wasn`t the right fit for Chelsea or Real although he won them a cup

      • Ram Kishore

        At Chelsea he suited very much. They played very well and attacked a lot even when his team was defensively organised…
        It was one of the best season for Mata..when ba left for Chelsea I saw them regularly until the end of season

      • Dont stop bobbi fleckman

        It’s already been said that Wenger has been winning the wrong cups recently.

  • NUFCDan

    It might just be me but although our football is pragmatic and can be quite cautious I don’t find it boring or unentertaining. It may just be because we have a likeable bunch of players at the moment who you can tell are giving 100%. Its not like we are an Allardyce team.

    • glassjawsh-got-banned

      Soccer, but it’s very nature, isn’t boring to me. I could watch my local 3rd division side (in the US, where that level is atrocious) and be entertained. But Brighton at home earlier this year certainly stretched the limits of that hypothesis…

    • mentalman

      earlier in the season it could be described as boring, now rafa has stopped the team immediately trying to defend a lead and go out and win a game its actually quite entertaining

    • thewildchimp

      It’s not boring anymore. They are running around, getting into dangerous positions, not being preoccupied with defending. Before it was: long ball to Gayle, he mistimes the run, loses possession, long ball to Perez, falls to the ground, loses possession, punt to Joselu, he has no one to head the ball to, loses possession. Now we are finally playing offensive football again. But I think the most meritorious player in this case is Diame, not Kenedy. Pretty much our best defensive player, he surpassed even Lascelles. Brought much needed stability to the team.

  • ghostrider

    If Thierry Henry took over, the fans would fill their stadium.
    He would be afforded time with many fans unwilling to be too hasty on him if he started off mediocre.

    People like Henry would be their messiah just like someone like Guardiola would be a messiah.

    However, if you brought in someone like Merson, he would be afforded very little time to be up and running and also most likely would not be an exciting choice.

    Even worse would be appointing someone like Moyes or Allardyce.

    It has to be a fit because the fans have been spoiled to the point of believing they are entitled to get right back into the earlier Wenger years.

    The difference between success and failure is a hairs breadth and the difference between being a messiah like manager to a discarded has-been is to overstay your welcome and not providing the presents to order.

    Arsenal could do with a couple of seasons fighting relegation. It’ll put the cat among the pigeons until a reignition relites the fans furnace of hope rather than arrogant expectation.

  • Dillon Tovak

    If they just want nice football keep Wenger then 😂

  • Rich Lawson

    ”Rafa sets his teams up not to get beaten” Like George (paper bag) Graham did then ? It doesn’t matter who,if indeed any one Arsenal get as a new manager next season.The fans (?) will want instant success or turn on him after a few games and ask why they didn’t keep Wenger ?

  • Desree

    Jackie you write more about Fulham and Arsenal than NUFC

  • pedrodelgardo

    I stopped reading after “Paul Merson explains”