Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe has called on his teammates to show more commitment to turn the club’s poor run of form around.
The Gunners‘ 3-0 defeat to Manchester City on Sunday extended their recent record to only one win from their last 12 games, which came against West Ham last Monday.
Interim boss Freddie Ljungberg has not been able – at least in his first five games – to bring out a serious response from the players, with two draws the only other positives to come from the Swede’s time in the role to date.
While Sunday’s result saw City move to within four points of second-placed Leicester, Arsenal are now as close to the relegation zone as they are to the top four.
Pepe, who was passed fit to face City following a knee injury, believes, while the situation continues, the blame lays purely at the door of the squad.
“Us players have to do better quickly,” the club-record signing said. “We have won only one game out of the last 12. It is not enough, we are Arsenal.
“It is about us, not the coach or anything else. We have to wake up quickly, starting against Everton.
“Freddie tries hard, he talks to us, but nothing has changed much in terms of results. It’s down to us the players, not the coach.
“Freddie is close to us because he used to be a player not long ago. He knows what we feel so it’s easier for us to talk with him. We will continue to work hard to make things better and win again.”
As for who could eventually replace Ljungberg as Unai Emery’s successor in the dugout, reports surfaced on Monday claiming that Arsenal had held a series of meetings with Mikel Arteta, Pep Guardiola’s assistant at City.
However, reacting to the reports, Paul Merson branded the Arsenal hierarchy “clueless” and said it would be dangerous to go for someone with no experience as a manager.
He said: “This is a big, big gamble putting someone that has never managed before in charge of a club the size of Arsenal.
“It’s all well and good saying he’s worked under Pep Guardiola, but let’s be honest, Guardiola would struggle managing this Arsenal team. Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would struggle!
“You’re only as good as your players at the end of the day and the idea of Arteta replicating Guardiola’s style of football at the Emirates just falls apart when you look at the players he’ll be working with.”
Arsenal’s next game sees them face Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.