Paul Scholes blasts Arsenal

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Manchester United legend Paul Scholes has pulled no punches when it comes to dissecting the current problems that exist at old rivals Arsenal.

The Gunners' poor run of form continued with a 2-2 home draw against Swansea in the Premier League last night and Scholes, in his guest role as a television pundit, was particularly scathing in his assessment of the recurring issues that appear to prevent them from sufficiently challenging for the title.

"Typical week for Arsenal, really. They capitulated at Chelsea and it seems to be a similar theme which happens when they play the top teams. It happened at Liverpool, they conceded six against City," he said on Sky and was quoted by The Daily Mirror.

"For one reason or another, the players just seem to go missing. The Artetas, the Cazorlas, the Rosickys, Ozils although I know he has not played for a bit.

"They go on the pitch with no discipline. It's as though 'you four, five midfielders go out there and do what you want - try and score a goal. A few nice one-twos, nice tippy tappy football - but don't bother running back'. That is my thoughts on it.

"I don't know if it is the manager - it just seems that way. Midfield players with no discipline. There are no leaders. No Patrick Vieira, no Adams, or Martin Keown. They need sometimes a midfielder you say 'look, come beside me for five or 10 minutes and let's stop the flow of attacks."

As well as that cutting commentary on Arsenal's apparent lack of accountability and leadership, Scholes - who also provided interesting insight on former club Manchester United after they were beaten 3-0 in their local derby clash against Manchester City at Old Trafford on Tuesday - also stated his belief that Arsenal are some way off a title challenge.

"These lot go 2-0 down and carry on what they are doing. They have a walk up front or lose the ball. Play a nice little one-two but they don't bother sprinting back. You wonder why they are in the position you are in.

"You feel sorry for Arsenal fans. They get the same thing every year. The hint of a title for a few weeks then they go to Chelsea, City or Liverpool and they just do nothing.Fans expect Arsenal to go for a League trophy. They are third or fourth but are a million miles away, in my eyes."

While none of Arsenal's players seemed particularly immune from Scholes' words, he honed it on one Gunner in particular - Jack Wilshere.

Although he did acknowledge that the England international was a talented young player, he obviously does not believe that Wilshere has progressed since he first burst onto the scene as an exciting teenager.

"When we played against Arsenal teams it was really tough.  Now, you play Arsenal and just et stuck in and you have won the game. Wilshere, what a really top young player, but he has not really gone on," he continued.

"He needs players like Vieira to take him to the next level. Injuries have not helped him but his development, from being 17, he does not look any better player now than when he was 17."

Last night's draw with struggling Swansea at the Emirates Stadium - secured courtesy of a calamitous last-gasp own goal from Mathieu Flamini - left Arsenal fourth in the Premier League table, two points behind third-place Liverpool - who face Sunderland tonight - and a full nine behind leaders Chelsea.

With the Gunners now seemingly on the verge of being eliminated from title contention and having been knocked out of the Champions League at the hands of holders Bayern Munich at the Round of 16 stage, it now looks increasingly as if the FA Cup will be their only chance of lifting any silverware this season.

Although the respective reputations of the clubs who make up the semi-final lineup in that particular competition should lead to them being labelled as favourites, Arsenal will obviously have to guard against complacency as they take on holders Wigan - who knocked out Manchester City once again this year - at Wembley next month for a place in the final.

For Scholes' beloved Manchester United, meanwhile, last night was another extremely frustrating result and performance for the club under the tutelage of David Moyes - particularly embarrassing given it came against their rivals and also after it seemed that the club may have turned a corner following impressive performances against Olympiacos and West Ham.

Arsenal fans, what do you make of Scholes' comments - is he right or wrong? Are you a 'million miles' from winning the title? Let us know your thoughts below...

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Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Premier League

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