Arsenal legend claims club lacks ‘technical ability to compete’

Former Arsenal captain Tony Adams has claimed that we lack technical ability, describing our side as a ‘cup team’.

Arsenal faltered to a 1-0 defeat away to Manchester City yesterday, in a match where we really should have secured at least a point, and former defender Adams claims that it is highlighting our frailties.

‘We’re still not beating those big teams, are we?’ Adams told Premier League Productions (via the Metro) after the Gunners’ defeat to Manchester City on Saturday.

‘It’s been prevalent in the last few years that we can only go so far. Listen I’m a massive Arteta fan – he’s got the best out of those players.

‘I think the recruitment has been very poor in the last few years to be honest with you. He’s doing a miracle job with them by putting an FA Cup on the sideboard last season.

‘I was hoping and praying at the start of the season. One with the goalkeeper situation which I disagreed with him; I thought we should have kept Martinez and two with the back four. I think after his time last season playing 3-4-3 he would have gone back to 4-3-3 go back into a back four and train the back four, work with them.

‘At the moment he’s getting everyone behind the ball, they’re buying into the style he’s enthusiastic and stuff but you can only take that team so far, they’re a cup team for me.

‘Very similar to the cup team of 1992/93 that I played in that won the ‘double cup’ and then the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994 but we were miles off the title. We couldn’t sustain it over the course of the season. We couldn’t go to Manchester United and turn them over. We didn’t have the squad, the technical ability to compete at the top and he [Arteta] hasn’t.’

I feel that Adams words are a little harsh, although I’m all for a switch in formation to hone our attacking talents, and give us further numbers up the field in order to aid our side.

I’m not so sure that I can disagree with his Martinez comments, as I think we lost a real gem there, and although he was less proven than Leno, I feel like he had the scope to hit a higher ceiling given time.

Do you agree with Adams comments on this team being a ‘cup team’? Does the team lack in ‘technical ability’?


Tags Tony Adams


  1. No the team does not lack technical ability. The team lacks a good system.

    Playing out from the back, pressing and combination play on the flanks are some weaknesses we have in our current system.

    About the back 3 or back 4, it’s up to Arteta. Tactics make formation work. There’s no magical formation without better tactics

  2. Tony said we should have Martinez, Wright said he thinks Martinez is better than Leno, that makes it two people who have actually played the game.

    1. If you say Martinez Is better than Leno, people will come for you. Is it coincidence that villa are conceding less and less goals and actually winning, also their back 4 seem to be filled with confidence. Was this not similar to how we were when Martinez was number 1 for those 3 months? How he denied mahrez, salah and Co really great goals that would have seen us lose against Liverpool and City? But I’ve learnt to keep quiet about it, some fans are still in the euphoria that Leno is a better goalkeeper. At the end of the season, we’ll compare stats and see that even selling at 20m was foolish on the part of the club.

      1. Agree, when a legend speaks, keep your mouth shut in respect. People with very little knowledge of the game turn experts on media. Each one is entitled to his/her own opinion, but when legends speak, respect them.These are the ones who brought laurels to the club and pride for us fans. Unlike those players who milk the club away with non performances.
        Emi was the better player at that moment, Mikel got this one wrong. Those defending Leno are similar to those defending Ozil who gave 19 assists 5 years ago. As for me I do say Emi was the better GK, but wish Leno all the best to improve his drawbacks and flaws. Viila played 2 top 6 teams and won, we played 2 top 6 teams and lost both.Is it a coincidence that we again nervous at the back in spite of playing Gabriel? Season is too early to judge, good luck to Emi and good luck to Mikel and Leno. I would not mind a top 4 with Arsenal and Villa, but luckily Villa do not have Ozil, Xhaka, Luiz, Kolasinac, Laca on their roster.

        1. Loose Cannon At the end of last season, we were saying how our defense as improved maybe Martinez was even the reason for the improvements. Please go and watch the Villa highlights you will see how Emi was holding onto balls that most keeper would normally have pushed away.

          1. LH, I’m an Emi fan, so I do keep tabs on the lad, fantastic keeper, mark my words, he will end up for Utd or Chelsea next year and that will hand either the title. My comment was for his detractors.

            The problem with AFC fans is that we are too sentimental and attached to the players. If Emi was the better keeper he should have been retained, Sentiments and loyalties don’t win titles, performances do. And Emi was performing, the back line with Luiz & Mustafi (hohoho) were doing well and we won silverware. We weakened the team with his departure, alas Gabrel cannot fixed anything if the GK parries the shots to the opponents.

        1. SueP I agree but I can bet it than by next season when top clubs come swooping in, like loose cannon said, villa would sell him for nothing less than 50m, Mark my words. Then the same fans that said we got a good deal for him now will come back and grumble about how Arsenal does bad business then. Just watch this space SueP, you’d call me a prophet.

          1. Totally agree
            The trouble was that the club needed £20m – story of our situation really
            I loved his composure. A great shame that he couldn’t make his mark at Arsenal sooner. You’ll no doubt remind me of your post come the end of the season 👍

  3. It proved it yesterday that we do lack the technical ability to go away to the top teams and win, Adams is spot on and knows what he is talking about. We have players who consistently get undone and for me Leno is not as good with his feet or hands as Martinez. He is right Arteta has done well and the recruitment in the past few years has been poor, we all know that and we are progressing but we are a long way off competing for the prem. Top 4 is our aim and even that may be beyond this team, a fair wind and EL is something we could do.

  4. I guess this is the perfect opportunity for ex-players to earn their living as Monday morning quarterbacks:
    – using 4-3-3 instead of 3-4-3
    – selecting HB over ANM and vice versa
    – playing Wiilian as a 9 instead of Auba
    – playing Partey now or sticking wIth Xhaka
    – selecting Luiz over Holding.
    I could go on and on. But, most fans in the know, especially members of this site, live in the real world and are mindful of the fact that we are still in transition. Unfortunately these are the natural consequences – figuring out our best 11, team formation and best style of play for each game. There are no shortcuts, despite what pundits and ex-players may say. I also think they were made worse by lack of pre-season training, the recent transfer season and the international break. It’ s like trying to fix an aeroplane in flight.
    So far this season, we have seen many surprise or shock results and there are many more to come, especially when we factor in the overall effect of ongoing covid tests on future team selections.
    As for Tony Adams, I would question his credibility as a reliable pundit especially after he was forced to apologize to David Luiz after our recent FA cup victory.

  5. Another clean sheet for Martinez, he’s the PL best goalkeeper since he started that stint with us…so stupid to sell him, anyone could see that Leno was at fault for the goal against city with a weak parry into the danger zone, i dont have faith in Leno like i did martinez and neither do our defenders and even club legends

    1. You and the club legends don’t have faith in Leno. As it turns out, both MA and Edu have. Same way a lot of fans have faith in Ozil but MA does not.

      You could possibly hold about 5 players responsible for the goal, but you chose to blame only Leno.

  6. We are not playing well, that’s it!
    A complete lack of creativity!
    Our playing out from the back seems so uncomfortable; sideways and sideways until it goes back to keeper and he hoofs it straight to the opposition. It seems as if with any kind of press we can’t keep the ball.
    I for one, never thought buying David Luiz was a good idea. He always has an error in him. Hector Bellerin is just terrible and I have been saying this for years. Xhaka is back to his old self. Offering nothing in the that midfield. Doesn’t win the ball back, can’t run, can’t tackle! I really don’t see the point of him! I didn’t think the Willian signing was any good either! Saw him in countless games for Chelsea. He’s average at best! And Aubameyang’s been downright awful! Just shocking!
    I don’t see any type of progress and the football’s getting worse
    We didn’t compete at Liverpool nor did we at City.
    I support the club and whoever’s coach. But I am not crazy over that Arteta!

  7. I slightly disagree. I think it’s the psychology. We still have fear when we play away against a strong team.

    It doesn’t matter how good or skilled players are, if they lack courage and confidence, then their performances will always be subpar.

    1. Pathetic, when they get paid in excess of 100k/week and scared? They should go to a psychiatrist. Villa shocked Pool, players on a humble wage. I’ve always said that we need players with determination and grit, not those good for nothings on high wages. I’m concerned about Auba’s goal drought. Willian seemed a one game wonder. You cannot win titles with Xhaka.
      If they cannot deliver they should resign with grace and not “honor the contract” Rather lose with the reserves /U23s rather than these fellas.

  8. One of the problems is the fear factor. The played a cautious game, by so doing he’s putting fear in our players

  9. I accepted Arteta’s defensive tactics last season because it was his first season with poor players left by Emery and Wenger. Arteta had to do what he had to do with the players he had in his first half a season. I was okay with it. But I thought he would change that this season because he would have had enough time with the players and even added some of his own.

    I just hope that with Partey, Ceballos etc all in the team we should start playing real exciting and big balls football.

    I hope it all starts in our next EPL game. Fans will turn on Arteta so first if we keep playing this way and not getting results againstthe Top 6.

    You can already tell that some are already out for blood and any opportunity to criticise him because of the way he had frozen out a certain cult hero of theirs.

    Watch out Arteta.

  10. He might have been an Arsenal legend during his playing days, but the more Tony Adams opens his mouth the more he demonstrates his lack of coaching and team managing knowledge.

  11. Whether he knows or not the fact is that Martinez is a better GK especially on the air. Controlled the box a lot better than Leno who has dropped many balls
    resulting in second chances and goals. That type of keeper can win a few extra games when you play in Burnley or Sheffield away or any team with an aerial threat into your box. Less risk on set plays also.
    The second point of a back four is ok if you can screen the CB with someone in front f them and with Partey here now you can do that. I would consider HB out of the starting 11 and give AMN a run of games.
    As far as technical ability I would agree even more because the quality of LIverpool or City on the ball is evident. We can’t seem to handle well playing out of the back and the caliber of players we have back there are not highly technical on handling the ball under pressure. We seem to be causing a lot of problems and second point going forward we lack cutting edge which further makes Tony’s point accurate.

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