Pundit warns Arsenal relegation seriously on cards as problems laid bare

Date published: Sunday 20th December 2020 8:03 - Neil Foster

Nicolas Pepe

England legend Alan Shearer is unconvinced that Arsenal have what it takes to stay in the Premier League with the way they are playing.

The Gunners made it seven top-flight games without a win after losing 2-1 to Everton on Saturday. An own goal by Rob Holding plus Yerry Mina’s header was enough to hand the Toffees all three points.

Nicolas Pepe’s penalty was all the north Londoners had to show for their effort. They succumbed to an eighth league defeat of the campaign and fourth in five games.

Pressure is mounting on boss Mikel Arteta, with his side in 15th and just four points above the drop zone. There are clearly issues at the Emirates and the Spaniard’s job seems in jeopardy.

The Match of the Day team had their say on all things Arsenal on Saturday night. Host Gary Lineker suggested they could not possibly go down but Shearer pulled no punches in his assessment of the situation.

“I wouldn’t be so sure. Not with that starting team and the attitude of some of those players,” Shearer said. “Awful, no creativity, players going through the motions, not working hard enough and not closing down.

Mikel Arteta

“Mikel Arteta should be a worried man relying on that group of players trying to save his job,” he added. “Twelve goals all season, they have no options.

“Against Everton, Pepe was not prepared to get into the box, he was jogging, sometimes walking. He has got to do more.

“There are a few players in that team who are not giving everything for the manager. Arsenal are never going to score goals playing like that.”

Arteta urges more fight

Shearer appeared to point the finger at Pepe and showed several examples of his lack of urgency. The Frenchman failed to get in the box even when Arsenal’s wide men delivered decent crosses.

The 25-year-old has scored just seven Premier League goals from 41 appearances for the club. That is in stark contrast to his time with Lille, where he found the net 35 times in 74 outings.

Alan Shearer TEAMtalk

Arsenal were hoping for a similar return but it has not happened and questions remain over his attitude. Arteta did not single out any individuals for criticism but admitted they are lacking a creative spark.

“We need to generate more to win football matches,” he said. “When it comes to small details, the other team wants it more. The boys are absolutely still fighting.

“The way the boys reacted in the dressing room tells me they have the belief. When you lose lots of games for different reasons it hurts a lot.”

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