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.”