Liverpool legend Graeme Souness has ripped into both Arsenal and Manchester United as the two clubs go through similarly difficult patches.
It’s been a poor start to the season for the Gunners and the Red Devils, and in truth both of these former Premier League heavyweights have looked for some time now like faded forces at the highest level of the game.
It remains to be seen if things can change for Arsenal now that they’ve sacked Unai Emery, but it’s safe to say Souness doesn’t seem optimistic.
The pundit, writing in the Times, believes Arsene Wenger actually left a very difficult situation for his successor to inherit, with much of the blame down to the players and their personalities.
“Emery was brave taking on the job in the first place, given the situation he was walking into,” Souness said.
“It’s easy to forget now that Wenger inherited a fantastic situation when he was appointed Arsenal manager in 1996. George Graham left the best back five in European football to build on in David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Steve Bould, Tony Adams and Nigel Winterburn, while Bruce Rioch had signed a 26-year-old Dennis Bergkamp from Inter. Throw in the likes of Ian Wright and Ray Parlour and the framework was there to be successful.”
He added: “You’re left looking at that dressing room and asking, ‘Where are the men?’ That’s what Emery required in his hour of need, but he didn’t have it at his disposal.
“It’s the same at Manchester United. If you’re a young player in Arsenal’s team, it’s difficult to imagine looking at one of your teammates and thinking, ‘I want to be him in ten years’ time.'”
In fairness, many Arsenal fans would probably agree with this damning assessment, though it won’t be easy for them or Man Utd fans to hear.
Souness, however, knows a thing or two about winning after his hugely successful playing career at Liverpool, and will also have come up against great Arsenal and United sides in his management career.