Arsenal legend Paul Merson says Sir Alex Ferguson and Pep Guardiola could not combine to fix the club’s problems.
The Gunners were there own worst enemy once again in Sunday’s North London derby loss to Spurs as Sead Kolasinac gifted the hosts an equaliser with an errant back-pass.
And Merson says no manager could fix Arsenal’s weak defence.
He told Sky Sports: “Against Spurs, I don’t care if you’ve got Pep Guardiola sitting on Jose Mourinho’s lap, on top of Sir Alex Ferguson’s lap, on top of Arsene Wenger’s lap and all four of them are one manager: if you’ve got a defender who can’t pass the ball five yards to another defender, you are in trouble.
“When the manager puts on a training session and you’re doing five-yard passes to start off with, everybody is moaning: ‘What the hell are we doing this for? Who can’t pass the ball five yards?’ But that is why. It’s concentration, so you can keep on doing it without even thinking about it, like you’re brushing your teeth in the morning.
“It’s just a really, really poor pass. But that’s Arsenal, they have that ability to shoot themselves in the foot. He could play that in his sleep, he didn’t even have to turn around.
“But this raises another question, and I don’t know why footballers do this. All Kolasinac has to do is dink that down the line, but if he sticks it down the line and a defender comes across and clears for a throw in, that doesn’t count as a completed pass in the stats. Footballers are so obsessed with pass percentages. Defenders want 88, 89, 90 per cent pass completion, but they’re all five-yard passes to each other! Who cares? Honestly?
“There are so many stats now, and players are scared of them, so try to play the easy ball! If that ball reaches David Luiz, what is he going to do with it? I’ll tell you: he’ll roll it back to the goalkeeper, the goalkeeper will get closed down, and he will clear it up to halfway, which is where Arsenal were to begin with! It’s just common sense. These are international players!
“All these players should care about is keeping clean sheets: that should be like scoring a hat-trick for a defender. You want defenders who think that way.”