Paul Merson admits his opinion on Mikel Arteta’s appointment as Arsenal manager is ‘turning’ after seeing an upturn in performances since his arrival last month.
Arsenal announced the appointment of the former club captain as their new head coach in December, the Spaniard returning to the Emirates in his first senior management position after three years on the coaching staff with Premier League champions Manchester City.
The club have enjoyed a positive start since Arteta’s arrival, the 37-year-old having implemented his style in the opening weeks of his reign in North London, securing back-to-back victories over Manchester United and Leeds in his past two fixtures.
Merson admits he was concerned by the appointment of a manager with no previous experience, but says Arteta’s impressive start has begun to turn his opinion on whether he is the right man to take the club forward.
“No it wasn’t [an appointment I supported] at the start if I’m being honest,” Merson said on The Debate.
“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, I know he’s worked with Pep Guardiola.
“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.
“They tried to close at Chelsea and then they sort of faded second half and got tired, which they are going to do if you’re not used to doing that.
“And then the way they played against United, they sort of all knew their jobs against United.
“And [against Leeds], what I liked about him is he’s gone in at half time, they were fortunate not to be two or three or four down, and he turned it around, he’s got the players and they’ve come back and won the game quite convincingly in the end and they were outstanding.
“So yeah, he’s turning me around a bit but he will need players.”
Next up for Arsenal is an away trip to face Crystal Palace as they look to close the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea, the Gunners currently nine points off the Champions League places.