Paul Scholes: Manchester United great unleashes attack on the Arsenal first-team, claiming Jack Wilshere has not improved since he was 17
Former midfielder revelled in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports last night
Manchester United great Paul Scholes has launched a stinging attack on Arsenal's first team, in particular their midfielders, claiming that they have no leadership or discipline. Special criticism was reserved for Jack Wilshere, with Scholes saying that the England international has not improved since he was 17.
Scholes was speaking in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports after watching highlights of Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Swansea City at the Emirates Stadium. It followed on from the disastrous 6-0 thrashing at Chelsea on Saturday, but Scholes argued that this was just a "typical" week for their "missing" players. The Gunners are now six points off league leaders Chelsea, and face free-scoring Manchester City on Saturday.
"It was a typical week for Arsenal. For one reason or another players just seem to go missing," the 39-year-old, who retired at the end of last season, said.
"The Artetas, the Cazorlas, Rosickys, and Ozil as well, although I know he’s not played for a bit, it seems like they go on the pitch with no discipline. It’s almost as if they say: ‘You four, five midfielders, go out there do what you want. Try and score a goal, a few little nice one-twos, a bit of tippy-tappy football. Don’t bother running back'."
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"I don’t know if that’s what the manager does, it just seems that way. They just seem to be midfield players with no discipline. There are no leaders, there’s no Patrick Vieira, there’s no [Tony] Adams, there’s no Martin Keown.
"Sometimes, as a midfield player, when you’re up against it you have to say: ‘Look, just come in here, sit beside me for five or 10 minutes and just try to stop the flow of attack’. These, they go 2-0 down, they just carry on what they are doing: ‘We’ll have a little walk upfield, lose the ball, play a nice little one-two and not even bother sprinting back’ – and you wonder why they are in the position they are in."
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Scholes added that Arsenal, despite being top for 19 of the 31 matchrounds this season and winning more Premier League points than any other team across 2013, are a million miles from being able to challenge for the title.
"I know they are third or fourth in the league but they are a million miles away in my eyes," he said. When we played Arsenal it was really tough. You play Arsenal now, you think just get stuck in and you’ve won the game. Jack Wilshere, he came on the scene and what a top player he looked, but he’s never really gone on. He needs people like Vieira to take him to the next level. His development, he doesn’t look any better now than he did at 17."
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