Arsenal may have problems worse than we think.
Following another game and yet another defeat, Arsenal continued their awful form this season – which shows no signs of abating – and the nightmare scenario of potential relegation continues to become a very real prospect.
The latest serving of misery was dished out in Saturday’s 2-1 loss away at Everton, and while we were in the match for large spells, our attacking ineptitude, coupled with a team devoid of any confidence, proved to be our undoing.
There were once again a number of disappointing individual performances on the night, and it is no secret that a proper clear-out at the Emirates is long overdue. However, it appears that the professionalism of the team is even more questionable than we might have feared, judging by extraordinary recent comments made by our number one, Bernd Leno.
The German shot-stopper laid bare the full extent of the club’s problems in an interview this week with Sky Germany, insisting that Mikel Arteta was “the least to blame” for our alarming slump and that the players must be held accountable for their abject displays.
"“The coach is least to blame for the fact that we are in this situation. If you look at the way we were running around on the pitch at times, then the players are the only ones to blame,” he said."
The most damning indictment of the current squad was still to come, as Leno admitted that the attitude is “bad” and issues including poor positional play and lack of effort have been clearly addressed “a thousand times” on the training ground.
"“The attitude is bad, the discipline is lacking and we have no self-confidence. There are many factors at play here,” he added."
It will hardly come as news to supporters that poor attitudes and a lack of fight have led to our fall from grace this campaign, but Leno’s scathing assessment of his teammates indicates that not only are they not up to the required standard, they are also incapable of following instructions and are lacking the drive and motivation necessary to halt our slide down the table.
Whether the team is enduring a prolonged bad run of form or there is a conscious attempt to sabotage the manager (apologies for the conspiracy theories), this insight suggests that Arteta is going to great lengths to improve the situation and is a very capable coach.
However, it also makes the lack of correlation between the high regard the players have for him and recent results all the more baffling.
There is little positivity around Arsenal at the moment and it is hard to know where the next three points are going to come from, but perhaps we can draw some comfort from the fact that Arteta seems to still have the backing of the dressing room.
With the poor showings put in by experienced players each week, along with the Gunners staring down the barrel of a relegation scrap, the Christmas message from the fans to the team must surely be “we care, do you?”