Saturday, 4 February 2017

Arsenal need more English players to win title claims Robert Pires

Robert Pires has claimed that his former side require 'more fight and more English players' if they are to end their long wait to lift the Premier League title.

The Gunners are likely to go a 13th year without prevailing in the top flight, as they currently trail runaway leaders Chelsea - who they face this weekend - by nine points.

Three defeats in their last eight outings has left Arsenal playing catch-up in the higher reaches of the division, but Pires - a member of the famous 'Invincibles' squad - insists that there could be a simple solution if the club are to finally get over the line.

"When I see the names in the squad, the quality is very high," he told The Telegraph.

"I don't know if it is better than the Invincibles but the most important for me is to win the title because this team can. They can play a very high level like the game against Chelsea at home but maybe they need more consistency.

"This is most important if you want to win the title, especially in the UK. Of course the games against Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool, Man United and Man City are very important but sometimes when you play Watford, Sunderland, Middlesbrough; it is these games.

You need to win these games. I cannot compare some players, like Martin Keown or Lee Dixon to now.

"We make a lot of difference in my time but this is the past; a great past for Arsenal. Football has changed but, in your team, you need players like them. Like Ray Parlour or Tony Adams.

So maybe Arsenal they need – maybe – more fight. Or more English players."

Arsenal have won the title on three occasions, putting them behind Chelsea (4) and Manchester United (13) in the list of most-successful teams.

Arsenal players have to blame themselves claims Shkodran Mustafi

Shkodran Mustafi has admitted that he and his teammates only have themselves to blame for their failure to mount a serious Premier League title challenge this season.

The Gunners dropped further points in midweek to fall down to third place in the table, nine points adrift of leaders - and weekend opponents - Chelsea.

Defeat to Watford on Tuesday was the first suffered by Mustafi since joining in the summer, and the centre-back has echoed manager Arsene Wenger's thoughts by claiming that Arsenal were not mentally prepared for the match.

"Personally I think the first thing you do is blame yourself first," he told Sky Sports News.

"The most important thing is to look what you have done wrong in the game. Then blame others. The players are on the pitch, we blame ourselves before we blame the manager.

"We have to take that responsibility and then answer. It can only be mental. We know we can play better and we were sloppy at the start.

It's all about mentality, being there from the first minute and knowing the Premier League is a difficult competition and teams are going to go for the opportunity they have, which Watford did.

"They ran at us and defended well. We were not clever or concentrated enough to stop them. We were not there, they ran all over us, and we cannot be happy with that at home.

We have to bounce back, it's a big game against Chelsea, we will try to be there from the first minute to the last second."

Arsenal have lost three of their last eight league games - as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 30 top-flight matches.