Exclusive: former Arsenal midfielder says Wenger and Bould must accept blame for Gunners’ problems
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Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson claims Arsene Wenger has put himself “in an ivory tower” and rejects any criticism following last Sunday’s defeat at Swansea.
It was the second time in five days the Gunners had surrendered a winning position – prompting Wenger’s critics to round on him.
The most notable was former Gunner Paul Merson, who described Arsenal as “clueless” after they blew a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 with Anderlecht.
Wenger hit back, calling Merson “a joke” before the ex-Arsenal attacker branded the Frenchman “childish” following the 2-1 loss in south Wales.
Robson exclusively told us: “Nobody can criticise the man, can they? And that is wrong. It is the atmosphere he has created.
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“The Arsenal fans are also split on it. If some dare criticise Wenger – which they have every right to do – they can get shouted down.
“In fact, at times it has got really nasty and quite threatening. But, make no mistake, this is all Wenger’s fault.”
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“I agree with Wenger to an extent that the best way to protect a lead is to attack. The higher up you win the ball back, the safer you are.
“But you have to be disciplined. And when Arsenal lose the ball they are not. Nobody takes responsibility and nobody seems to know what they are meant to do.
“Per Mertesacker has said as much from a defensive viewpoint. The players – who I honestly don’t blame too much for all this – need to be given clear jobs, but it is abundantly clear they don’t know what to do and that is not right.
“Players are making bad decisions because there is no structure.
“Look at Chelsea; [Jose] Mourinho gets the likes of Willian, Eden Hazard and Oscar to defend brilliantly.
“Why? They know their jobs because the manager gives his side clear structure.
“Wenger has no idea what he is doing though.”
The former Arsenal midfielder is exasperated at what he has seen – and Wenger’s assistant, Steve Bould, does not escape his wrath. Robson says he must speak up.
“How can Bouldie just sit there on big wages and not challenge him?” asked Robson.
“If I was the first-team coach I would simply have to try and stop these defensive problems because of my pride.
“I lost my job as first-team coach at Wimbledon many years back because I spoke up – and I would do it again.
“He must know that the players crossing the white line are not being given coherent instructions.
“Graeme Souness said after the defeat in Dortmund that Arsenal are the only side he has ever seen who are quicker with the ball rather than without it.
“That is so true. They get possession and jump into life, but when they lose the ball….”
And Robson also has a word of warning to direct specifically at Arsenal and England midfielder Jack Wilshere.
“Arsenal desperately need a holding midfielder but what Wenger should be doing is teaching and improving Jack and Aaron Ramsey – it seems clear to me that they are not being taught properly.
“Paul Scholes said as much about Jack and he was right. And when someone like that talks, you should listen.
“The way things are – and it pains me to say it – if Wilshere wants to be the world-class midfielder we know he can be, then he simply has to leave Arsenal. And nobody wants to see that.”