Robin van Persie warned Arsenal it may take “years” before they get back to challenging for trophies, and cut an incredulous figure while speaking about a simple facet of the game the Gunners persistently struggle with.
Arsenal advanced to the FA Cup semi-finals after narrowly squeezing past a resilient Sheffield Utd side.
A Nicolas Pepe penalty and late Dani Ceballos winner proved decisive, yet common frailties rearer their ugly head again.
The Blades twice had the ball in Arsenal’s net besides David McGoldrick’s goal, but both instances saw the goals ruled out for close offsides.
Both situations arose from set piece situations, and Arsenal’s back line repeatedly looked vulnerable whenever a dead ball scenario arose.
Speaking in his role as a pundit on BT Sport (via The Sun): RVP said: “You can see [Arteta’s] hand on this team. But you can see that this team is not fully connected yet.
“If you look at the connection from defence to midfield to strikers, they are not connected, they are not moving as one.
“He is still searching, but I do believe that if you give him time – and he should have all the time he needs, not just months, he should get years – I do believe that he can get it right.”
Regarding Arsenal’s vulnerability when facing set pieces, Van Persie added: “The they should now finally find a way to fix set pieces against, corners against, free-kicks, crosses.
“It’s like every cross against Arsenal, you are holding your breath, it’s almost a goal, almost a goal. How do you fix that? You fix it with mental toughness.”