Arsenal lack a 'competitiveness' in the big games, claims former manager George Graham after Everton defeat

Graham feels that the players are 'plodding' along from the first whistle but feels they stil have time to turn their fortunes around

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The Independent Football

Former Arsenal manager George Graham has criticised the current crop of players for lacking a “competitiveness” when it comes to big games after the Gunners succumbed to a heavy 3-0 defeat in their latest Premier League fixture at Everton.

Goals from Steven Naismith, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas put the Toffees in the driving seat in the race for fourth place and Champions League qualification, and the defeat is the latest in a long line of capitulations when Arsenal have gone into a match against one of their nearest rivals in the table.

It’s something that Graham feels is down to a lack of being competitive when it matters, and unlike Arsene Wenger’s teams of yesteryear, he feels that those currently available are “plodding” along from the first whistle.

“They are not competitive enough,” slammed Graham, speaking on TalkSPORT’s Alan Brazil Breakfast Show. “At the beginning of big games there are usually tackles flying about, there’s intensity about the play, there is energy about the play. I don’t see any energy, any competitiveness from the first whistle, and they have got to sort it out quickly.

“They seem to be plodding. Arsenal have always been famous under Wenger for their lovely slick passing and their attacking football, but I just don’t see that nowadays. They are full of talented midfield players but, apart from [Aaron] Ramsey, nobody gets into the box.”

It was not all doom and gloom from the 69-year-old though, as he still feels his former club can turn their season around by winning the FA Cup and securing fourth place – if the players sort out their problems immediately.

“I honestly believe Arsenal will win the FA Cup and I still think they have a great chance of finishing fourth, if they get their act together,” Graham added.