Arsene Wenger is being let down by a lack of leaders in his squad. That’s the view of former Newcastle and Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew.
His one conclusion from Arsenal’s defeat at Watford was that they were missing a driving force in the team, and mentioned that Mesut Ozil was especially sloppy.
“Arsenal are seriously lacking leadership on the pitch,” Pardew wrote in his column for the Daily Mail. “They have no driving force.
“The vultures are circling round Arsene Wenger but it doesn’t matter how good you are as a manager, if you’re missing that driving presence in your team, you’re going to struggle.
“A driving force can evolve at a football club, like Patrick Vieira at Arsenal. You can also buy leadership and when Wenger signed Mesut Ozil, he would have hoped he’d got a true leader.
“But Ozil’s display at Watford — a sloppy miss and then not busting a gut to get back for Watford’s winner — highlighted his lack of drive. Wenger cares passionately, but I’m afraid he has no natural leadership in his dressing room.”
Arsenal were leading thanks to a goal from Per Mertesacker and had some good opportunities to kill the game off. However, a contentious penalty decision got Watford back into the game, and from there Arsenal never looked like getting a result.
Whether that was down to a lack of leadership, or because a few too many players weren’t performing, is anyone’s guess. I believe Wenger would disagree that his team lacked leaders.
Petr Cech, Per Mertesacker, and Laurent Koscielny – Arsenal’s three first-choice captains – were all on the pitch at the same time but it didn’t make much difference.
Wenger will also feel that Arsenal had the quality on the pitch to win the game. The Gunners had been in good form, but this recent defeat has made everyone miserable again.
We’ve yet to win away from home in the Premier League this season, and will have to buck that trend when we visit Everton on Sunday.