The Arsenal legend (and you can’t get much bigger), Ian Wright, has made it clear that he thinks the older Arsenal stars were not trying very hard, especially in our seven-game run without a win. But once Mikel Arteta brought in the youngsters like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe, the seniors were embarrassed into matching the belief and energy from their less experienced team-mates.
‘I think there was a time when they came in it was embarrassing,’ Wright told Premier League Productions (as transcribed by the Metro).
‘When they came in they brought that energy and enthusiasm and exuberance,
‘We were seeing players who weren’t really at it for him. In the end he took a massive chance and brought those guys in and they’ve done it, Emile Smith Rowe in particular.
‘Nobody was playing that role. Now he’s in a fantastic position because the youngsters have mobilised the senior players have to perform now.’
I’m not sure if the senior players actually felt embarrassed, but by having the worst form of any Arsenal side in my lifetime (and I’m old! is certainly something they should have been embarrassed about! The Gunners were 15th in the Premier League table after our non-winning run, and falling closer and closer to the relegation zone, until Saka and Smith-Rowe came in and transformed the side. The Gunners have at last got themselves back into the top half of the table. and a slim chance of making the European places again if they manage a great run in the second half of the season.
Let us hope that the team has no reason to be embarrassed again this season, or any season from now on…