Rio Ferdinand claims Arsenal are struggling because of a lack of ‘harmony’ in the squad amid issues with frozen-out Mesut Ozil and William Saliba… as he calls on under-fire boss Mikel Arteta to ‘handle the dilemmas of the changing room’
- Rio Ferdinand has waded into Arsenal’s crisis after seventh defeat of the season
- The ex-Man United defender believes Mikel Arteta’s squad is lacking ‘harmony’
- Ferdinand says Arteta needs to get rid of players he has left out of his plans
- He called on the Spaniard to ‘handle’ the dressing room to boost morale
Rio Ferdinand believes Arsenal’s current crisis is down to a lack of ‘harmony’ in the squad and challenged manager Mikel Arteta to ‘handle the changing room’.
The Gunners find themselves in a lowly 15th – just five points off the relegation zone – after an awful campaign so far, despite many predicting the team to challenge for a place in the top four after winning the FA Cup and Community Shield back to back.
On Tuesday Arteta openly admitted his side have not good enough and that he would take the blame for the team’s wretched run of results – which continued with a 1-0 home defeat to Burnley, which saw them implode as Granit Xhaka saw red after throttling Ashley Westwood.
Arsenal are struggling because there is a lack of harmony in the squad, claims Rio Ferdinand
The Gunners have slumped to mid-table after alarming form and are close to the drop zone
Ferdinand said Arsenal’s lack of form combined with a lack of harmony is causing problems
And Ferdinand believes their poor performances and failure to find consistency boils down to negativity behind the scenes. Mesut Ozil was left out of the club’s Premier League and Europa League squads and looks set for an exit, with the German expressing frustration with his situation on social media.
Meanwhile, Arteta has claimed that youngster William Saliba is ‘not ready’ to play and was also left out of his European squads. The 19-year-old joked to fellow outcast Matteo Guendouzi – who has been loaned out to Hertha Berlin – that he was being ‘locked up at Arsenal.
‘I just think they’re lacking in harmony,’ Ferdinand told his YouTube channel FIVE.
William Saliba told to Matteo Guendouzi that is he ‘locked up’ at Arsenal on social media
Mesut Ozil has also been left out of Arteta’s plans and has admitted his frustrations on Twitter
‘We’ve seen the new signing, [William] Saliba, talking to [Matteo] Guendouzi on social media. And obviously Mesut Ozil is on the sidelines as well.
‘Mikel Arteta came in and bang, set my stool out this is what is going on and these players aren’t playing.’
Ferdinand conceded that every squad has unhappy players – but stressed that the situation becomes much worse when the team aren’t on song, and says the lack of form on the pitch is combining with the disharmony and has affected the team.
He urged Arteta to ‘get rid’ of his unhappy stars or offer them a second chance to provide an upturn.
Ferdinand challenged Arteta to ‘handle the dilemmas of the changing room’ to boost morale
‘Now, if you do that and you are winning like he was earlier on in the season, then you don’t hear anything,’ he added. ‘You don’t hear any murmurs or mutterings behind the scenes from any players because you cannot say anything.
‘Once that changes and you start losing games and pressure starts mounting. Then the people that aren’t playing start being a part of the group that maybe affects the harmony.
‘That’s why you either have to get rid of them and get them out of the building. Or you have got to keep that door ajar and let them know there’s an opportunity, so they don’t become bitter and they don’t become people that want to talk in the media.
‘I think it’s down to Arteta to handle that. He has to handle the dilemmas of the changing rooms.’
He said Sir Alex Ferguson was a ‘genius’ at keeping sub players, like Javier Hernandez (L) happy
The 42-year-old, now a pundit after winning seven Premier League titles at Old Trafford, believes Arteta should follow the example of his old boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who he says was a ‘genius’ at making players on the fringes feel like they were ’10 foot tall’.
‘He has to handle the players that are playing but you also have to handle people are in and around the squad that aren’t playing every week.’
‘That is where Sir Alex was a genius. He made people feel 10 foot tall and they were subs or they were in the stands. He made them feel that he needed them or believed in them – that’s an area Arsenal are struggling.’
Ferguson’s teams were renowned for possessing ‘super-subs’ like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Javier Hernandez and Michael Owen, who all helped contribute to the club’s success despite not being first choice.
Arsenal have a chance to get back to winning ways on Wednesday but face a tough test as they welcome Southampton, who are just two points off the top of the Premier League.
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