Paul Merson reacts to Mikel Arteta’s recent progress with Arsenal: report

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has acknowledged that he has been proven wrong by Mikel Arteta, who has improved the results at Arsenal since taking charge as their head coach last month.

Merson was far from pleased with the anticipated appointment of Arteta as the new Gunners manager last month, and he cited that the Spaniard would prove a big gamble with no managerial experience.

Arteta started his tenure with a draw and defeat to Bournemouth and Chelsea respectively but he has since guided the club to back-to-back wins against Manchester United and Leeds United.

The north London side are now going through their best winning run in more than three months and Merson has acknowledged that he has been pleased with the progress after initially being against the appointment.

“No it wasn’t [an appointment I supported] at the start if I’m being honest. I thought for someone to come in who’s never been a manager before, to come into a massive club like Arsenal, I thought it would be a struggle,” he told Sky Sports’ The Debate, as quoted by The Express.

“But what I’ve seen in the last few weeks, there’s been at least two or three games where it’s the first time I’ve seen Arsenal for a long time and I haven’t thought Arsene Wenger has been the manager. He’s turning me around a bit but he will need players.”

Arteta has brought about a change in the intensity of the Gunners players on the field and there has been more pressing from the front to bring about mistakes from the opposition.

So far, the players have not been able to sustain the same level of workrate through the entire 90 minutes but slowly but surely, the entire team should be able to meet the physical demands of the Spaniard.

Arsenal will be in Premier League action against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park this weekend and they have the opportunity to register back-to-back league victories for the first time since August.

The Eagles have proved a bogey club for the Gunners in recent years, having registered two draws and one win from the past three meetings. As such, Arteta’s side will need to produce their best to end the winless streak against the south London side.

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