Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has accused some of the older members of the current squad of viewing the club as a “vacation” and described the group as “average”.
Petit was part of a successful Arsenal team under Arsene Wenger. He won the Premier League under his compatriot in the first of three seasons with the club in the late 1990s. However, Arsenal have been on a downward trajectory for much of the time since.
A recent 3-0 defeat at home to Liverpool highlighted major problems with Mikel Arteta’s side. They face an uphill battle if they are to qualify for Europe next season.
Some hope remains via the Europa League, which they could win to qualify for the Champions League. However, they will need to up their game if they are to do so.
Now, Petit has hit out at Arteta’s squad, shaming some of their older players and highlighting how many the manager needs to get rid of.
“When I look at the older players in Arsenal’s team, it’s like they think it’s a retreat football club, somewhere you just go for a vacation,” Petit said (via the Evening Standard).
“They have ambition, but I don’t really expect them to win big games anymore.
“If you took away the name ‘Arsenal’ and looked at that group of players… average. At the end of the season, if I’m Arsenal, if I’m Arteta, if I’m on the board, to be honest with you, I think my main concern is getting half of the dressing room out. Honestly.
“I try not to get emotional anymore when I look at Arsenal. I try to step back and put away my emotions.
“I try and look at them like a normal team. I have to tell myself, ‘don’t expect anything special from them today’.”
Quartet escape Petit criticism
The Frenchman continued his tirade at the Arsenal squad by claiming not many can class themselves as among the Premier League’s best in their respective positions.
“The question is simple; how many Arsenal players would you look at and say ‘they’re one of the best in the league in that position’?” he added.
“For me, if you look at the last two or three seasons, how many players are exempt of any criticism? Three or four, probably.
“Kieran Tierney and Bernd Leno. I really like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe; the way Smith-Rowe plays really reminds me of Paul Gascoigne.”