Barton: Arsenal have 'no spine or character' under Wenger

The QPR midfielder was unrelenting in his attack of the Gunners and their manager Arsene Wenger.

Joey Barton launched a scathing attack on the way Arsenal have fared under Arsene Wenger over the last ten or fifteen years.

A disappointing record away to the best sides in the country has seen the Gunners fail to win the title since 2004. In the last 20 games against top five clubs, Wenger and his side have won just once and lost 16 times.

The QPR midfielder is known as one of the feistier characters in English football, and clearly has plenty of time for the warhorses of the Arsenal side of the late 1990s. Barton said the fact Arsene Wenger hasn't brought in any steel to replace the likes of Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams and Martin Keown may explain the Londoners' limited impact in the Premier League title races recently.

"That record [Wenger's 18 years in charge] is probably the reason they haven't won a title for years," Barton suggested.

"Nobody can criticise Wenger on the job he has done to build the infrastructure at that club to a fantastic level. But it's probably been sacrificed at the cost of trophies and challenging at that level.

"You think of his teams of [Emmanuel] Petit, [Patrick] Vieira, [Tony] Adams, [Martin] Keown and all those kind of warriors. You look around the Arsenal dressing room now, the people who would win you those kind of games against the top four clubs - they don't really have an abundance of them.

"At the latter stages of a season they come unstuck because of that lack of - I hate to say it - a real lack of character or spine within the team."

What ever your opinions on Barton as a footballer and an individual, one thing you can't say of the one-time England cap is that he's afraid to speak his mind. Perhaps it is unsurprising then to hear him mention a lack of a player at the Emirates that can "galvanise [by] shouting and bawling" in order to affect the Arsenal dressing room.

The 32-year-old told Radio 5 Live that one former Gunner had informed him that such a passionate and vocal approach isn't Wenger's cup of tea.

"One of the things that comes out of the Arsenal dressing rooms is the change in culture from his first sides to now, where he's developing from within," said the former Manchester City and Newcastle United star.

"One player told me that Arsene doesn't like anybody raising their voice at half-time if it's not going well. He almost frowns upon it.

"Sometimes you need someone to galvanise and that might be a shouter and bawler. It may not be Arsene's way, but I think they lack that.

"Psychologically, the managers of these big clubs are usually top managers and I think they've had Wenger on toast. Sir Alex Ferguson had him on toast in the end and Mourinho's got him on toast now. That's what costs them."

Even though Arsenal have only just recently ended their trophy drought, there can be no denying that they have remained one of the most successful teams in the country under Wenger, even if the Frenchman does object to a noisy dressing room at half-time.

So does Barton have a point, or is he just unable to grasp the difference in management techniques Wenger employs compared to what he's used to?

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