Graeme Souness has stuck the boot into Arsenal’s tactics and discpline as the pressure mounted on Mikel Arteta after a 1-0 home loss to Burnley.
Arteta is facing serious questions over his future after they fell to their seventh loss in 12 games this season. Arteta’s troops are down in 15th place; their worst start to a season in 40 years.
Arsenal’s task was made harder by Granit Xhaka’s red card – and after the match Arteta let the midfielder know exactly what he thought.
The defeat also means Arsenal have lost four successive home games in the Premier League.
Arsenal were also fortunate not to be down to nine men after Mohamed Elneny was booked for putting his hands in James Tarkowski’s face.
And Souness tore into Arteta after the game for giving the Egyptian a crucial man-marking job at a set-piece.
“You’re setting your team up yesterday defensively,” said the pundit on Sky Sports. “Who in his staff has thought it would be a good idea for Elneny to be a marker at a set-piece? Elneny is ignoring the ball completely and just staring at his man and pushes the guy down.
“He [Elneny] goes down pretending he’s been pushed. He should have been sent off there.
“Who has looked at the situation and thought ‘he could be one of our markers?’. If he does that once you don’t have him anywhere near marking a player.”
Souness was also furious at Elneny’s lack of discpline and says he too should have seen red.
“That guy’s 28 years old,” Souness added.
“Someone in his staff must have seen that and thought, ‘Not sure about that boss, let’s put someone else there’. Someone on his staff has to go, ‘That’s down to me’.
“You learn at 15, 16 how to mark properly and if you’ve got half a brain it’s in your head forever. Don’t tell me that Elneny’s not marked someone in the past at a set-piece for Arsenal and shown signs that he might not be very good.”
Souness added: “They could easily have gone down to nine men tonight. In my opinion should have gone down to nine men.
“Someone in the coaching staff must have seen that in him and thought, ‘We can’t have him anywhere near marking someone’.”
Wenger also in Souness firing line
The Scottish firebrand also tore into former Gunners boss Arsene Wenger for even signing Elneny back in 2016.
“That has to go back to Arsene Wenger,” said Souness. “He signed him. Whoever signed him and worked with him for a period of time. Him or his coaches have got to say, ‘This is how you mark’.”
Arsenal are five points clear of relegation and face in-form Southampton in a crucial game on Wednesday night.