Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has suggested what Arsenal need in order to get back to a position where they are realistically competing for Premier League titles again.
Arsenal were the dominant force in English football in the early 2000s but they’ve been unable to recapture the form they showed in the ‘invincible’ era. Having made an inconsistent start to the Premier League season, Chelsea and Manchester City are pulling away from the pack.
Scholes suggests what is common knowledge with some Arsenal fans; the side needs leaders to create a ‘we won’t be bullied’ type mentality.
“They couldn’t handle losing and that was why it blew up in the tunnel. I say that they could not handle it partly as a compliment, because they were such a competitive team. They had pace, style, quality, strength – everything you need to be a title-winning side,” wrote Scholes for the Independent.
“When I look at the team that played on that day, there were plenty of leaders, especially Patrick Vieira. In those days, Arsenal wouldn’t be bullied. The absence of those kind of players is one of the reasons they don’t win league titles any more and won’t win it this season.”
The last two summer transfer windows have seen Arsene Wenger bring in some top quality players when fans were starting to doubt whether he’d ever splash the cash in comparison to rivals in the modern era.
Big names such as Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have arrived with younger, long term prospects like Calum Chambers from Southampton and Danny Welbeck from Manchester United.
However, Arsenal didn’t buy a midfield giant and the sort of holding player who could have announced a real presence in the Arsenal side during the summer.
There’s no indication that they will this winter either, with Wenger already speaking about Chambers’ ability to play the holding midfield role along with mentioning that Jack Wilshere can also play there.
Arsenal have it in them to beat any team in Europe when they play to their best, but their potential and ability when bullied and put under pressure still needs developing.