‘I’ll give him his due’: Paul Merson praises Mikel Arteta for taking Aubameyang off
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

'I'll give him his due': Paul Merson praises Mikel Arteta for taking Aubameyang off

While all eyes are on Arsenal against Everton tomorrow for Gunners fans, it was only a few days back that Mikel Arteta saw his side lose to Manchester United at Old Trafford.

After giving away a lead, the Gunners couldn’t quite keep in the game and eventually succumbed, losing 3-2 to a Cristian Ronaldo brace. But on the whole, it was a decent enough showing from a young Arsenal side who are continuing to improve.

However, there was a big cause for concern among Arsenal fans. With the Gunners needing a goal, Arteta decided to take captain and talisman, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, off the field. In fairness, the Gabon ace was having a poor time, and was duly subbed.

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

But while some were shocked – including Thierry Henry – Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes Arteta needs praising for not caring who he takes off or upsets.

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“I think he was that poor that he took him off. He won’t have this, Arteta. I’ll give him his due, he won’t have it. I think if you’re not running around, and not setting an example as the captain, he won’t mess about,” Merson said on Soccer Saturday.

“To be fair to Arteta, he’s not one of these who won’t take you off because of who you are. You run around, or you’re off. Because otherwise the other young kids will think ‘well he does it, so so will I’. So fair play to him.”

TBR’s View: Merson is bang on about Aubameyang and Arsenal

Managers often take the criticism so it’s nice to hear a pundit giving some credit out here. And for what it’s worth, Merson is bang on about Aubameyang.

He was woeful at Old Trafford. And it’s not the first time he’s been poor this season either. For Arteta, it’s a bold and important move that he takes off his ‘big names’. As Merson says, it sets a precedent.

Aubameyang needs to up his game and quickly. Otherwise he might find himself on the bench before too long.

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