PAUL MERSON hit out at Tottenham manager Antonio Conte for not making a change in the first half of the North London Derby.

Spurs lost 2-0 to Arsenal after going in two behind at the break, having been played off the park on their own patch.

Tottenham lost 2-0 to Arsenal and went in two down at the break

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Tottenham lost 2-0 to Arsenal and went in two down at the breakCredit: Reuters
Paul Merson slammed Antonio Conte for his first-half tactics

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Paul Merson slammed Antonio Conte for his first-half tacticsCredit: SKY SPORTS

A Hugo Lloris howler saw the visitors take the lead, before Martin Odegaard added a second with a gorgeous strike from range.

At half-time former Arsenal man Merson slammed Conte for letting Spurs get “ripped to shreds” and not making a change.

He even claimed “any of us could play where [Thomas] Partey is playing” – with Tottenham non-existent in midfield.

Merson said on Sky Sports: “You’re talking about one of the greatest managers about in Conte, he hasn’t changed it.

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“He’s just let that team go out there and just get absolutely ripped to shreds. He had to change it.

“If I’m being honest I think any of us could play where Partey is playing at the moment. Honestly I do, no one has got near him.”

Merson went on to say that it was “embarrassing” from Tottenham in the first half.

He added: “I can’t believe how a manager of that quality has not tried to nip this in the bud. It’s pretty embarrassing.”

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Discussing Arsenal’s title hopes after their victory, Merson said: “I think it all comes down to next Sunday.

“If Man United go and beat Palace away, which I expect them to do the way they’re playing, they go to the Emirates and I think if Man United win that game then they are three points behind Arsenal.

“But if Arsenal win it Man Utd are out of the equation and it’s Man City chasing them down and they’re eight maybe even more points behind Arsenal.

“It’s Arsenal’s to throw away now. I know there’s a lot of points to go but that first-half performance was like watching Man City.

“If you had been living in New Zealand and you haven’t seen football for the past four years and they were playing in light blue you would have thought that was Man City, that’s how good they were.”

And discussing their North London derby rivals, Merson added: “Tottenham are letting in 2 goals every week and Arsenal are playing the best football they have in many years.

“Not like this (level of confidence), they’re top of the league, flying along, breaking records, on a roll I just couldn’t see it with Tottenham.

“They played three at the back, two holding midfielders and every week they let in two goals, I don’t know how you get away with it, it’s unbelievable.

“Bar the Palace game – which if Palace had Kane they would have won 4-0 that day – they can’t keep turning it off and on like a tap.

“And people forget about the second half, the first half was embarrassing at the highest level, I’ve never seen a derby game like that.

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“They were outclassed, everything Arsenal were doing you see patterns of play you could see what they were doing. Zinchenko coming in then going and Partey will come short and the other two will go forward or open the game, (but) with Tottenham it’s cuffy. You can’t see any plan.

“The second goal… that happens on Sunday morning down the scrubs or can’t do that I feel sorry for the midfield players they have been left to be embarrassed today.”



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