Arsenal run a very real risk of being left behind in the Premier League as they have to fight to even finish in the first half of the season.
But manager Mikel Arteta isn’t to blame, his players just aren’t good enough.
This is the verdict of Charlie Austin who hit back at demanding Arsenal fans who seem to be turning on their boss.
The Gooners had to reflect on the reality of their place in England’s top flight this weekend after losing at home to Premier League leaders Manchester City, a result that left the Gunners in tenth place in the table.
It’s almost 17 years since Arsenal were last crowned Premier League champions, and 15 years ago this week the Gunners beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu in one of the club’s big European victories. .
But a lot has happened since those days under Arsene Wenger, with Arsenal’s current side in real danger of ending up in the bottom half of the Premier League.
And the supporters are not happy. Monday’s Drivetime show was inundated with calls, texts and emails from disgruntled Gooners after Sunday’s result, and many of them say fans are turning their anger on manager Arteta.
“It’s not Arsenal’s worst team, the manager is not good enough for the job,” reads one text. “It will be one day, but not now. If we had Ancelotti we would do a lot better.
But it sparked Austin, who insisted the manager isn’t to blame for the squad’s current crisis, his players just aren’t good enough.
“It’s an evasive tweet,” the QPR forward said.
“’If we had Ancelotti’? When they named Arteta they were excited about a fresh start after the ‘boring’ football under Emery, and now that hasn’t worked out, they want someone else to come!
“Trust your manager, give him time!
“Can you please Arsenal fans? Wenger had been there for so long but all of a sudden they hammered him like he was a failure so he leaves. Another manager comes in, Emery they didn’t like him and Arteta comes in and now that’s to blame.
“Look at your team. Is your team good enough to finish in the top four? Simple answer, no.
“Are your team good enough in the top six right now in the Premier League?” No! Well, there you go, your team just isn’t good enough.
“We’re not talking about titles, we’re not even talking about the top four or even the top six. Are this Arsenal side good enough to finish in the top half of the Premier League? That’s the question for Arsenal now.
The texts kept coming in from the disgruntled Gunners, and another blunt post led Austin to claim the North London side were being left behind in the Premier League.
Laurence the Arsenal fan sent this message to the show: “We have been in decline since the Champions League final in 2006 – we have gone from Thierry Henry to Marouane Chamakh, from Sol Campbell to Philippe Senderos, from Patrick Vieira to Mohamed Elneny. Don’t think I have to say much more.
“I don’t think it does, I think it’s all there for everyone to see,” Austin replied. “They haven’t reached the heights they’ve reached in years.
“I think if Arsenal fans were honest they would be happy to win the FA Cup.
“When Wenger was in charge it was almost a no-brainer that Arsenal could go into a cup race, make it to the final and maybe win, and Arsenal fans would be happy with that… but you sure want it more!
“Considering the players he just named and the fact that they were in the Champions League final, you don’t stand a chance of making it to the Champions League final for a very, very long time, and it doesn’t look like you’re going to win the Premier League for a very, very long time.
“Where is your club going?” You’re not in a transitional phase, you’re in a dark, deep place and I’m not sure they’re going to be okay for a while.
“They may not be the worst team Arsenal have ever had, but the Premier League is getting better and better and going in the wrong direction.”