Roy Keane summed up Arsenal’s dire showing in the 5-1 Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich perfectly immediately after the north London side’s European hopes were all but extinguished, by claiming “when Kieran Gibbs has the captain’s armband, you’re in trouble”.
Keane was unsurprisingly scathing in his assessment of “average” Arsenal as they suffered a second 5-1 defeat at Bayern in little more than a year, having lost by the same margin during last season’s group stage.
The result puts Arsenal on the brink of a seventh consecutive last-16 exit, and has led to strengthened calls for Wenger to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season and let another manager try and get the best out of Arsenal’s seeming untapped potential.
Arsenal looked like they had finally cracked how to play Bayern when Alexis Sanchez pulled the score back to 1-1 just before half-time, with Wenger’s side looking to hit Bayern on the counter after Arjen Robben’s fantastic opening goal from long range.
However, what followed in the second half was a complete capitulation by the away side, and given the unlikeliness of a second-leg comeback – where Arsenal must win 4-0 or beat Bayern by five goals – it appears their Champions League dreams are over once again.
Wenger was keen to stress how important losing captain Laurent Koscielny to injury in the second half was to their downfall, which led to left-back Gibbs taking on the armband. However, former Manchester United captain and current Republic of Ireland assistant manager Keane was far from impressed with his leadership skills.
“When I see Gibbs with the captain's armband at the end of the game you're in big trouble,” Keane said on ITV.
“If he's your captain or your leader, if he's the guy who's going to bring everyone together, you're in huge trouble.
“Bayern didn't have to be at their very best tonight. The goals Arsenal gave away were schoolboy stuff.”
Keane also took aim at the ability of the Arsenal squad, claiming they are not good enough to compete at this level – as their dire European record over the last seven years shows – and claimed that they have just “two decent players”, though failed to identify who they were.
“I don't know what you were expecting,” Keane added. “There was a lack of leadership, character, hunger, desire. I have to say tonight at this level and this stage they're not good enough.
“There's no point being too critical because they're just not up to it. They have two decent players and the rest are average.”
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