Crazy stat shows Arsenal critics may be spot on

Arsenal have had plenty of critics down the years and those critics have used a wide number of sticks to beat us with. Just a few are; the inability to handle the pressure of expectation, complacency, bottling it in the big games, Wenger’s apparent reluctance to compete and spend the club’s money in the transfer market and his insistence on playing a certain style of attractive football when a more pragmatic approach may serve us better.

I think that you can level the same sort of thing at most clubs and teams and I also think that the Gunners have answered the questions and proved a lot of the critics wrong, but I have just seen a report in the Daily Mail that suggests that they may be spot on with at least one of the criticisms levelled at us recently.

I am talking about the accusation that Arsenal struggle because of the lack of on-pitch leadership and with the paper reporting that the Gunners have not started with the club captain in our line-up for more than two years. The last time Arsenal had the captain in the starting XI for a match was against Man United in November of 2014.

Is it any wonder that Arsenal sometimes lack a bit of leadership?



  1. Giroud Olivier's Unstoppable toe says:

    As Wenger keeps saying, We have leaders all over the pitch!
    Yeah right!

  2. Jansen says:

    In an ideal world, we would have a captain who would play most of the time, not one who seems to carry the title as an honorary badge yet doesn’t play.

    Having said that, a captain’s armband doesn’t make a leader. And we seem to lack leaders in our squad, particularly if you compare it to the days of Adams and Vieira.

    We know Wenger doesn’t do much in-game management so we could do with an onfield general who get’s in players faces when the level drops, who picks players up who just made mistake leading to a goal and who sets that tone with a Sanchez like never say die attitude.

    I always thought Wilshire might have the personality to be this guy but clearly, he is not at the club and has not been an automatic starter.

    I also think, typically, the captain should be one of the best players in the squad, they tend to have more authority. Ramsey telling Santi or Alexis what do won’t work so well.

    To me our best players are:

    Cech – I would prefer a captain who can go speak to players during the game, this hard to do for keeper
    Kos – seems a bit of a quiet type
    Santi – not on the pitch, too often injured
    Ozil – needs picking up himself from time to time, lacks the visual fire in his belly
    Sanchez – Best of the candidates so far in terms of winning mentality and competitive drive.

    Mustafi – only his first year but if he is a communicator he could be a good candidate.

    1. atid says:

      Mustafi seems well liked, has a bit of leadership about him, but apparently is a bit of a joker in the dressing room, speaking from experience, the funniest bloke doesn’t make the best leader.

      Alexis needs to gain respect by attitude as well as ability. No one wants to follow a whinger.

      For me the best candidate is currently Cech or koscielny.

    2. Vlad says:

      Giroud or Xhaka for me

  3. Ozzy AFC says:

    I said this about a month ago in a comment on another post, we have no real leader on the pitch, people seem to assume that certain senior players who may be senior in talent, should also take control on the pitch, Ozil for one but this is far from the truth.
    Ozil is NOT a commander of the troops and as has been proven when things are going badly he disappears, its NOT only him we have no Iron man in midfield to control the players both front and back and its an oft repeated criticism but it’s clearly true that we NEVER replaced Viera in that midfield role and while we Cesc we had an almost replacement but since then nothing of the like. Mustafi is perhaps the man to take this position and we certainly play far better at the back when he is on the pitch but he’s not been with us long enough to be able to really cement this role as his own.
    There’s nobody else in the squad who rallies the troops (Perhaps Cazorla when he’s fit) and this is the main problem. Wenger seems to be so haphazard in his approach to buying in new players and never really seems to have an idea of the types of personality he should be looking at on top of the skill set.
    but this is all just one of the MANY problems the club appears to be suffering from and remedying this in itself won’t change the overall performance but would go some way towards perhaps starting the rehabilitation process, however this sort of thing costs money and we all know the manager and the clubs policy on the spending of money don’t we ??

  4. Kostafi says:

    Henry was our last real captain in 06/07 and that’s saying something. Wenger has since used the armband to appease wantaways- Cesc and RVP to curious choices like Gallas (emotionally unstable) and Vermaelen (quiet). The last couple of seasons have seen the armband go to players approaching retirement nursing ageing injuries.
    Koscielny is too quiet to be an on pitch leader so I would like to see it go to Mustafi or Xhaka. Both are long-term prospects as well, so no 2 year stints. Although in their first season, Mustafi is vocal, while Xhaka is central enough on the pitch to communicate well with both attack and defence. Yes he has flaws, but so did Viera. Passion and the ability to communicate well with your team mates at all times determine a leader.

  5. invisible says:

    Xhaka for me.

  6. ThirdManJW says:

    A quote from the article regarding Arsenal’s failings “I also think that the Gunners have answered the questions and proved a lot of the critics wrong”. Am I missing something here? When did Wenger or Arsenal prove people wrong? We still can’t win, or even get near winning a major trophy, we very rarely win ANY trophy, and we still bottle it in the big games (one win in eight for the big games this season, which includes seven poor performances). The only area in which Arsenal have improved is the transfer market.

    I do agree however with the lack of leadership on the pitch. I don’t even think Wenger wants a real leader, because that would mean someone in a game having a go at others for not pulling their weight. Wenger likes a calm and relaxed atmosphere, and doesn’t like his players getting upset. Wenger’s picks for captains of late has been nothing short of delusional! Mertesacker is the current club captain, which I think says it all!

  7. Onochie says:

    The main thing in a team is believe and motivation,the players also needs to be talking to each other,encourage each other,shout at under-performing fellow,help each other out. Isn’t that the work of a captain? If everybody does this every game,instead of moaning at any misplaced pass,or waiting for Sanchez to make things happen,then the would be very organised. We miss Le Coq seriously.

    1. Break-on-through says:

      Yeah, I didn’t like Ramsey complaining to Alexis and arguing that he should have passed the ball to him. Ramsey is no stranger to making a wrong decision or hitting a wayward ball. Alexis has been very createful this season. If Ramsey was half as upset with his own let downs or other players one’s who break up many moves ie. Oxlade, well then I’d be ok with it, because then he’d be just demanding more from himself as well as the squad. I couldn’t believe he actually criticised Alexis after the couple of weeks we just had. There was plenty of blame to go round during our previous form, himself as much as anyone, besides Alexis.

  8. Wonder says:

    Our communication during the game is very poor both between players and the coach. eg against Everton, Cech saw that Baines was unmarked some few minutes before he received a pass but he never shouted at anyone….Even Wenger ddnt on anyone on the bench ddnt!

    Even if Wenger see that we are getting something tactically wrong, i have never seen him sending instructions to his players…Look at how Klopp…he even write letters to players!

    eg again: Montero was roasting Chambers inside out for the whole game while Wenger was seated. Liverpool against Stoke Peters was having a field day when Sane was not tracking back…and I saw Klopp telling him something and the game changed!

    1. Midkemma says:

      I think one of Wengers flaws is acting during a game, either giving commands or making the sub soon enough…

      I can kinda comprehend why he doesn’t give commands like Big Sam or Klopp, he likes to develop the players so they are smart enough to know this in games and doesn’t need to be told it. In the past he had good leaders in the squad who would give those commands, Adams was never shy from telling a player to do something and Vieira was not a man many would talk back too…

      Wenger needs that type of ctpn to make his style work IMO.

      With the lack of commanding leader I think Wenger has tried the lead by example type of cptn and that failed him, Cesc ran off to Barca and RvP refused to sign a new contract unless we shown ambition… so he was off to UTD.

      Next type to try was the intelligent type, along comes Arteta.
      There was a period when Arteta was mobile enough that we looked like real contenders, looking back now it can be argued that Ramseys great few months was down to Arteta.
      Now it is Per and again, another intelligent type of cptn, not a commanding one like Adams was.

      Mustafi has shown he can command and also looks intelligent from what I have seen, Xhaka can be classified as a commanding type of cptn but he hasn’t shown the ability to command the CM so I don’t think he should be trusted to command the team yet 😉

      I wonder how much our financial challenges had on Wenger getting the type of player he wanted?
      Adams he inherited but Vieira was bought as part of the condition for Wenger to come manage us, we was at Highbury then and no stadium debts.
      After Vieira it went to Henry and he was another commanding type of player, bought at Highbury and under those conditions.

      If you can’t buy what you want then you have to make it instead and we have seen Wenger try and fail at that…

      But now?
      He has been spending again the past few years and bought in some real quality…
      Alexis is a leader in attack.
      Mustafi has lead our def when played, not lost yet have we when he has played?
      Xhaka has potential to be a leader in CM… still adapting to EPL but I have hope.
      Cech leads from the back and communicates with the def…

      Wenger had/has hopes for Wilshere and when fit and on form, he is a leader in CM. This loan move is possible because we have more depth in the squad and that depth has been made by spending.

      I know Wenger isn’t perfect but I don’t think the blame is solely his fault.

  9. Midkemma says:

    I honestly think we have had a lack of quality that can act as a cptn.

    Mustafi has shown the level of communication a good cptn needs, he puts in a full shift each time he plays and he looks to also have the desire to win things. If he can keep his ability to command for the rest of this season and plays as the cptn we need then we may at long last found our man.

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