By Daniel Feliciano

21st Dec, 2021 | 9:45am

Paul Merson says Marcelo Bielsa reminds him of Arsene Wenger

Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson says Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa is reminding him of the latter years of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

The Whites are in complete disarray currently with several key players out injured and just one win in their last eight Premier League games.

But despite the issues with personnel in the squad, Bielsa has continued to try and adopt his man-to-man system all over the pitch and that has seen Leeds lose three-in-a-row conceding 14 in those games.

Writing in his Sky Sports column, Merson says Bielsa’s stubbornness with his system is costing the Elland Road side in a similar way to the way Arsene Wenger’s did during the end of his reign at Arsenal.

“Marcelo Bielsa’s insistence at playing the same way is reminding me a lot of Arsene Wenger’s latter years at Arsenal,” he said.

I remember covering Manchester United versus Arsenal in 2011. Arsenal turned up at Old Trafford with a weakened team, we all said in the Super Sunday studio that Wenger needed to change things and that he couldn’t go out and play as if all his big players were on the pitch.

“What did Wenger do? He went out, played the same, and Arsenal got beaten 8-2, I’ll never forget it. This is exactly what I am seeing of Bielsa at Leeds United now.

“They went to Manchester City with no players, they played exactly the same way as they usually do, and it was embarrassing, I felt for the players. The manager has got to have another game plan to fall back on when needs must.

“Leeds have been absolutely shredded in the absence of some key players, but the manager has to change things around. He has got to accept that, without those players around, the team has to stay solid, get men behind the ball, and make it hard for the opposition to score.”

Nothing new

Leeds’ struggles this season are well documented, but so are the flaws of Bielsa.

He has his philosophy and way of playing and doesn’t deviate from it, regardless of the circumstances and the entire club knew this when they appointed him never mind four years on.

Rather than calling for the impossible, Leeds need to up their performance levels since we know they’re capable after how they played last season.

If they get back to that level they’ll be fine, but getting there is the biggest issue right now.

Bielsa has come out fighting, and he will be supported every single day between now and the end of the season by everyone at Elland Road.

In other Leeds United news, Jeff Stelling thinks Leeds development was ‘absolutely staggering‘.