Arsenal’s awful start to the Premier League season was rounded off with a 5-0 loss to Man City and no one should escape criticism.
The Gunners’ plight has scrutinised as they sit rock bottom of the table after three game and three losses, while their fierce rivals Tottenham top the pile heading into the international break.
And after the humiliating loss to Pep Guardiola’s men, the great and the good on talkSPORT had their say on what went wrong at the Etihad Stadium.
“All I witnessed yesterday was a couple of non-tryers,” said Tony Cascarino, once of Chelsea.
“[Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang thinks he can get away with not even moving a leg as a centre-forward, because he was totally disinterested in the game yesterday.
“You can make mistakes, (have) bad performances, but Calum Chambers was extraordinarily bad, for the first goal, and for the third goal.
“I mean, when you’ve got Jack Grealish running at you for the third goal, get tight to him, don’t make it easy for him and back off a yard or two.
“He was one of a few indifferent performances. They have got a team who cannot defend. Even good players that they have got can’t really defend.
“I look at [Emile] Smith Rowe, he’s a fantastic talent. He can’t defend. [Martin] Odegaard can’t defend.
“You’ve got a midfield that can’t make tackles, or decent tackles, you’ve got defenders who can’t defend and all your best players or your so-called younger players who are talented are not really good defenders anyway.
“Your whole team can’t defend.”
Former Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor was just as scathing about the problems Arsenal made for themselves.
He told talkSPORT: “They keep making errors and mistakes that aren’t forced. Like [Granit] Xhaka, there is no need to go in there.
“I know you’re getting beat and you can’t get on the ball but a two-footed challenge, there is no need for your vice-captain to do that.
“Chambers, how can you not get touch-tight to Gundogan in the box.
“Arteta must be thinking, ‘I’ve worked on this, I’ve worked on this, there are three centre-halves, we’re letting Manchester City cross it’.
“You want them to cross it, they have got no big striker in the box to get his head on it.
“How many headers did they score today? It’s just such naive defending. It’s schoolboy defending even from Arsenal.”
He added: “A lot of blame has got to go on Arteta for his tactics. When I saw the team named I thought ‘that’s a lot of attacking players to play against Manchester City‘.
“How they lined up was Odegaard and Xhaka as your two defensive midfielders, basically, against Manchester City.
“Gundogan had one of his best ever games for Man City today because he’s playing against Odegaard because he’s an attacking, flair player. He doesn’t want to be chasing Gundogan around.
“Xhaka was on his on his own in there. It needed a [Albert Sambi] Lokonga or an [Mohamed] Elneny in there to get the ball back and then break with it. They needed one of them players in there today so you have got to look at the manager.
“Yes, he’s got injuries, but you’ve got players on the bench who should be starting.”
Former Arsenal star Perry Groves, meanwhile, was disappointed with Xhaka’s red card given the fact the player believes himself to be a leader.
He told talkSPORT: “I was doing the West Ham game yesterday and I hadn’t seen it and someone said to me ‘Xhaka’s been sent off’, so I said to them ‘I bet it’s a launch in, two-footed, where he leaves the ground and does a scissor tackle’.
“And you think, the definition of insanity is where you keep doing the same thing over and over again and you think you’re going to get a different result.
“Showing your leadership skills, and he is one of the leadership goup, sometimes he’s given the captaincy, so you’ve got the younger players around you and it’s the senior players who are supposed to help them.
“[What Xhaka did], that’s not leading by example. I think it comes all the way from the top with ambition and leadership and if there isn’t any that gradually trickles down and comes in to the team that’s playing.”
But Groves also took issue with the defending and believes the Gunners aren’t even getting the basics right.
He added: “The thing that frustrates me, being a massive Gooner, I want to see my team have heart, commitment, and desire.
“But the defensive side, when you’re a coach, the easiest thing to start with is on the defensive side to get your team structured. It’s easier to destory than create.
“I’m looking at Mikel Arteta and there was a lot of eurphoria when he first went in but he just seems like he’s lost his way, he’s lost the basics.”
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