Another disappointing defeat and the knives are out.
After Arsenal lost 3-2 to Olympiacos on Tuesday night, former Liverpool man Mark Lawrenson was yet another pundit to have a go at Arsenal and Arsène Wenger on Radio 5 Live.
“You can’t create a leader, I think it’s impossible,” Lawrenson explained. “As a football player at this level the first thing you do, because we’re all very selfish, you make sure you’re playing well. If then you can help the guy who’s next to you or the rest of the team that’s an absolute bonus.”
Do Arsenal have any leaders? Alexis Sánchez always performs but can’t speak English, Petr Čech wasn’t on the pitch on Tuesday and Per Mertesacker didn’t start.
Does anyone else at Arsenal strike you as a leader?
Lawrenson added, “I think you’re looking for an extension of the manager on the pitch, and therefore you’e also looking for players who play at such a high consistency level.
“I know you don’t want to revisit the old Arsenal but the strange thing for me with Arsene Wenger – Seaman, Dixon, Bould, Adams, Keown, Winterburn, Vieira, Petit, my could they scrap if they needed to, they were all leaders in their own way. You ask a modern day manager and they’ll tell you it’s very difficult to get those leaders.
“Having inherited all those guys, it’s almost like Arsene Wenger has overlooked that position in his side.”
Well let’s get one thing straight, Arsène Wenger identified and signed Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit, he didn’t inherit them.
The Arsenal manager went on to sign Sol Campbell, Thierry Henry, Jens Lehmann and now Per Mertesacker among others. He has, at various times, signed leaders.
Right know the side seems to lack outright arrogance – maybe that comes with being a leader – but it isn’t true Arsenal haven’t ever signed any leaders under Wenger.
Lawrenson wasn’t done yet, though.
“Look at the start of the season, people said ‘I think Arsenal might win the league this season.’ Well they won’t, the reason they won’t is they’re leaderless and they always let you down.”
Arsenal face Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday, in a crucial game which will give us more insight into whether or not we could win the league this season.
One thing is for sure, we won’t be winning the Champions League.