Paul Merson has meltdown over Arsenal’s ‘testimonial’ display in EFL Cup final

2018-02-26 11:43:58

An 'upset' Paul Merson has lambasted Arsenal for Sunday’s Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City - comparing their performance to a testimonial game.

The Gunners gave teams a lesson in how not to defend as they surrendered the cup in a miserable 3-0 defeat at Wembley Stadium.

READ MORE - Gary Neville calls players a 'disgrace' during Carabao Cup final defeat to Man City

City were not at their best themselves but their win was made to look easy by Arsenal , who were unorganised at the back and lethargic in midfield, while they failed to take their few scoring chances.

Their performance has been described as ‘spineless and inept’ , and former Gunners midfielder Merson has accused the team of not being fired up for the cup.

“One team was playing in a cup final, the other team looked like they were playing a testimonial," Merson, who scored and was named man-of-the-match when Arsenal last won the League Cup in 1993, said on Monday’s Sports Breakfast.

“I don’t like saying players weren’t putting the effort in, but some of them looked beaten when the first goal went in, and that was it.

“It was like they all thought, ‘we’re not winning here’.

“I knew they couldn’t do what Wigan did against City. Wigan without the ball are a better football team than Arsenal. They are the worst team in the country without the ball, and it was proven again yesterday.

“When they haven’t got the ball too many of them don’t see danger, they don’t close down. They never close down as a group, it’s all individuals.

“You see Man City press and they all go at the same time, they all know what they’re doing, but with Arsenal, nobody knew what they were doing.

“When the first goal went in, I just turned to my wife and said, ‘this could be any score you want’.”

As the interview went on, Merson sounded more and more distraught by Arsenal’s display, but he refused to blame Arsene Wenger for the results.

Admittedly one of the manager’s biggest critics, Merson this time insisted Wenger was not at fault and said he sympathised with the boss over his team’s display.

Instead, he said the players were to blame for Sunday’s Wembley disappointment and that many of them are ‘not good enough’ to play for the Gunners and should be sold in a summer ‘clear-out’.

“I’m upset,” he added.

“I’m one of Arsene’s biggest critics, but I didn’t see it as his fault yesterday, it was the players.

“It does come down to the manager, but he puts the team out there. I know people say the manager is responsible, but the players have got to take part of the blame now, it’s not always Arsene Wenger’s fault.

“He put the team up there to play a cup final at Wembley – it’s a big game, their biggest of the season – and I can’t blame him for what they did.

“I really felt for Wenger yesterday, I really felt sorry for him. The players let him down severely, and he’s the one who will get the blame again.

“The team isn’t good enough. Some of the players just aren’t good enough to play for Arsenal.

“They need a clear out. Five or six of the players who played yesterday should be playing at Everton , or lower.

“It’s all about the players. If you haven’t got the best players, you’re not winning anything.”

Listen to Paul Merson’s verdict on Arsenal’s EFL Cup final defeat IN FULL above

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