Merson slams Conte after Spurs' first-half display against Arsenal

‘It’s been pretty EMBARRASSING’: Paul Merson slams Antonio Conte’s tactics after Tottenham’s woeful first-half display against Arsenal… insisting he has ‘no idea how a manager of that quality’ failed to adapt his strategy

  • Paul Merson slammed Tottenham and Antonio Conte at half time against Arsenal 
  • Spurs were bullied by the Gunners and found themselves 2-0 down at the break
  • Merson questioned why Conte chose not to alter his tactics during the first half
  • Click HERE for all the latest updates and action during the north London derby

Ex-Arsenal star Paul Merson heavily criticised Tottenham boss Antonio Conte for not changing his tactics during Spurs’ woeful first-half performance in the north London derby on Sunday.

An own goal from Hugo Lloris and a long-range effort from Martin Odegaard put Arsenal 2-0 ahead against Spurs at half-time, as Mikel Arteta’s side dominated their north London rivals.

The Gunners came into the heated derby with extra motivation, knowing that a win would put them eight points clear at the summit of the Premier League after Manchester City’s 2-1 defeat by Manchester United on Saturday. 

Paul Merson heavily criticised Tottenham manager Antonio Conte for not changing his tactics

Arsenal dominated Spurs in the first half but the manager opted to keep his shape and tactics

At half-time, Merson said on Sky Sports: ‘The only bit of heart for Tottenham is Kane chance. Arsenal have been great. Spurs have been really bad but had two good chances.’

He went on to suggest that he and his fellow studio pundits Jamie Redknapp and Louis Saha could have played in defensive midfield instead of Arsenal star Thomas Partey, who nearly scored a wondergoal in his impressive first-half display.

‘Conte just let that team go out there and let that team get ripped to shreds,’ Merson said. ‘I think any of us could play where Partey is, no one’s got near him. 

‘No idea how manager of that quality hasn’t tried to nip that in the bud. It’s been pretty embarrassing.’

Harry Kane nearly pulled one back towards the end of first half, but his side went in 2-0 behind

Jamie Redknapp questioned Conte’s decision to play Ryan Sessegnon up against Bukayo Saka

Bukayo Saka caused Spurs left-back Ryan Sessegnon plenty of problems in the first half and was directly involved in both of Arsenal’s goals, forcing Lloris’ own goal and assisting Odegaard for the second.

Redknapp, who described Saka as one of the ‘best attackers’ in world football, questioned Conte’s decision to play Sessegnon.

‘Saka is one of best attackers in world football. The manager has got to take responsibility (for picking Sessegnon),’ the ex-Spurs star said.

‘This is where someone like Ben Davies comes in. I can’t remember a 45 minutes in any derby as one sided as this . Arsenal are like 12 men on pitch, a class a part in the 45 minutes. Magnificent. The midfield dominated that first half.’

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