Paul Scholes doesn’t like Arsenal.
He doesn’t even attempt to hide it when he is on punditry duties and his dislike for Mesut Ozil borders on the personal, so it perhaps comes as no surprise that he has called them arrogant in his latest column for the Independent.
Assessing the Champions League games for this week, the former Manchester United hatchet man covered both the Arsenal and Manchester City games in his piece but it was for the Gunners that he saved his insults.
As far as the failings of Premier League teams in this season’s Champions League go, there was no better example of their collective shortcomings than Manchester City’s defeat to Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night. Outplayed, outfought and out-thought, City were miles off the pace.
This was a defeat that was not just about Lionel Messi, although he was sensational. It was not just about Barcelona’s return to form, although they look very good again. It was about another English team going into a game against brilliant European opposition with no plan to stop their opponents playing and an extreme naivety when it came to their tactical approach.
Just as Arsenal’s complacency and arrogance in the first leg against Monaco cost them dearly come the second leg on Tuesday night, so City failed to understand what it took to beat Barcelona. Just as Chelsea failed to create more than one chance against Paris Saint-Germain in Paris and then got caught between attacking and defending their lead in the second leg, so City let Barcelona take control.
Arsenal are arrogant, Manchester City, who have spent five gazillion pounds on their squad since they were flooded with oil money simply ‘failed to understand.’
It’s a common theme in the media – Arsenal are heavily criticised while poor old ‘plucky City’ just can’t catch a break.
Even when Scholes addressed Yaya Toure’s performance, one which would have seen the world implode had Mesut Ozil been as lazy and ineffective, he just brushes past it.
The more fundamental problems for City were Yaya Touré walking about in midfield and David Silva not helping out much either.
That’s it, that’s all he said about Toure’s woeful performance. What did he say about Ozil who was voted into the team of the round?
It was another game from Özil, and another failure to make the big difference. It was not his worst performance, and he had a role in the first goal for Olivier Giroud, but how long must Arsenal wait for him to deliver the moment that wins them a tie like that against all the odds? He found space but his touch was not great. He tried hard but he slows Arsenal down at times. He was bought to make a difference on nights like that.
As for the shirt-swapping at half-time, as I said on ITV, I don’t like it. We never did it at Manchester United because there would have been an explosion from Sir Alex Ferguson when he saw you come back into the dressing room. But even if that had not been the case, I would never have done it. I was there to win a football match, not to start a memorabilia collection.
…As for Özil, he has played in two great teams, for Germany and Real Madrid, and I think that away from that level of the highest quality he is struggling to influence games the same way.
He also accuses Arsenal of only being able to play when the pressure is off. He added
Arsenal only really seem to play when the pressure is off
In Monaco, Arsenal showed what they can do when the shackles were off and they had to attack. It was a brilliant performance against a very average team, even if they did not get the third goal they needed. Typical Arsenal, that when the pressure is off, they played their best football.
Yeah, there was no pressure on Arsenal whatsoever on Tuesday night eh? And what about when Arsenal beat Manchester United? Clearly Scholes has wiped the FA Cup quarter final at Old Trafford from his memory.