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Shearer Says “Arsenal players lack fight”

| 17.02.2017

Coral ambassador Alan Shearer looks at what’s going on at Arsenal, who could be their next manager and how Ranieri deserves time…

Watching the first half of Bayern v Arsenal game you would never have seen that scoreline coming. Arsenal had done well to get back into the game after being completely dominated in the first 20 mins but I was amazed at their capitulation in the second half after Koscielny went off injured. There was no leadership or organisation on display. Not one player was trying to motivate or galvanise the side. The only question that remained was how many Bayern were going to score. They went through Arsenal like a knife through butter. It was so easy.

I listened to Michael Ballack after the game and he said he felt Bayern did not even play that well.  In the end Arsenal were lucky it was only five. The players should take a lot of responsibility and hold their hands up rather than listening to their manager take all the flak.

There were reports of a row in the dressing room after the game, and if that was the case, it is about seven or eight years too late! I’d be surprised if there was though, because it does not seem this group of players want to have a row and I think that is part of the problem. None of them seem to have the fight or the desire within, to stand up and take responsibility. When I was playing, there was always someone in the team who would rattle your cage and you would get it in the neck if things were not going your way.

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez rues a missed chance during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London.

Arsenal lack leadership

When you look at this Arsenal team now compared to the one I played against, it’s chalk and cheese. I remember lining up against them in the Cup Final at Wembley, the likes of Adams, Vieira, Seaman, Dixon, Keown, the list goes on.  All of those guys were leaders and if they wanted to be or needed to be, they could be horrible, properly nasty!  In this current Arsenal team, they all seem like nice guys. Too nice. And that is why they fall away in the Premier League and fall out of the Champions League at this stage of the competition every year.

If Arsene Wenger was to leave in the summer then I would hope he would announce it now so he could get the send-off he deserves rather than being slaughtered from now until the end of the season. They could still win the FA Cup and finish in the top four which has been acceptable for the club for the last ten years. That’s why the manager is still there. He’s made the club a fortune by making sure they keep qualifying for the Champions League season after season, but of course the fans aren’t interested in the finances, they want titles.

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If Wenger leaves, who’s next?

The big worry for Arsenal fans has to be what happened to Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson retired.  If there is no succession plan in place, then things can go horribly wrong as it did with United. There has to be serious planning if they are looking to make a change in the summer and that should be happening now. But as only a week ago there was talk of a new two-year deal being on the table for Wenger, it suggests they haven’t been planning for a future without him just yet.

It’s a massive job for any manager to walk into when Wenger does eventually leave. Eddie Howe has been talked about as a possible replacement although Bournemouth are in free-fall at the moment, so the support for him could be on the wane. They need an experienced manager, as we are talking about a huge job at a huge club.

Ranieri earned the right to stay

Another manager who is under pressure at the moment is Claudio Ranieri. Given what he achieved at the club last season, the board surely have to give him until the end of the season, he’s earned that right.  Ranieri has already stated publicly that he has to start leaving some his big hitters out and he’s not wrong, because they have been woeful. Jamie Vardy has not had a shot on target since mid-December and it’s now February! Mahrez has virtually disappeared after being Player of the Season.  You can accept players not playing well but you can’t accept players not putting the effort in.

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Alan Shearer

Alan Shearer played his entire career at the top level of English football, winning the Premier League title with Blackburn in 1994-95. The following summer he signed for his hometown club, Newcastle United, for a then world record £15 million fee.

He ended his playing career with a record 260 Premier League goals, which still stands today. He also won 63 caps for England, including 34 as captain, and among his 30 international goals were five scored at Euro 96, a total that won him the Golden Boot at that tournament.

Now the chief pundit on Match Of The Day, Alan was one of the first two players inducted into the Premier League Hall Of Fame this year.