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Merson: Best thing for Arsenal is not finishing in the top four

Paul Merson in action for Arsenal in 1996. Photo credit: Barry Coombs/EMPICS Paul Merson in action for Arsenal in 1996. Photo credit: Barry Coombs/EMPICS

Wednesday, December 5, 2012
1:08 PM

Former Arsenal hero Paul Merson believes that the Gunners could benefit from failing to qualify for the Champions League this season, but has warned against hounding Arsene Wenger out of the club.

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Though they had already qualified, the Gunners failed to claim seeding for the European competition’s knockout stages last night after they lost 2-1 in Athens to Olympiakos.

Their interests on the continent will now be put on ice until next year and they must now turn their attentions to the Premier League where they have endured their worst start to a campaign since the arrival of manager Wenger 16 years ago. They sit in 10th place, 15 points behind leaders Manchester United and Merson, who spent 12 years at the north London outfit, believes there are big problems at the club.

“Without being horrible I think it’s a little bit of a mess,” he told Sky Sports, adding: “It needs to be sorted and the best thing that could happen to Arsenal is that they don’t finish in the top four this year and they fall back.”

Merson insists that would spark a need for change so that Arsenal can once again move forward in terms of “buying a better quality of player.”

But supporters are growing increasingly disgruntled with their team and their manager who has failed to win a trophy for seven years.

Merson, however, urged caution over calls for the Frenchman’s head.

“They’ve been struggling and people have been calling for Arsene Wenger’s head. Be careful with that,” he said.

“He’s a top drawer manager, he’s been around so don’t wish for something [like that] because it isn’t always the same.

“I hope they don’t panic with Arsene Wenger. At the same time they need to bring in a better quality of player.”

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