Paul Scholes slams Arsenal after Champions League failure

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Football News

Paul Scholes has not been afraid to speak his mind about Arsenal following their dismal Champions League defeat earlier this week, with the Manchester United legend criticising the use of midfield duo Mikel Arteta and Mesut Ozil as well as questioning the club's pre-match preparation for such important ties.

Arsenal - who have also endured a rather modest start to the new Premier League campaign having only taken six points from a possible twelve so far - were far from impressive on Tuesday night in Germany, succumbing to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Bundesliga title hopefuls Borussia Dortmund.

Abject Arsenal

In truth, that scoreline rather flattered the Gunners and Scholes - who famously kept a very low profile during his illustrious playing days but has developed quite a reputation for searing honesty since hanging up his boots and becoming a pundit - clearly sees several areas that require urgent improvement at the Emirates Stadium.

In his traditional column for The Independent, the 11-time top-flight winner appeared first to echo the sentiment of many disgruntled Arsenal supporters by questioning the respective roles of Ozil and Arteta.


"The whole world seems to know that Arsene Wenger needs a high-quality holding midfielder but for some reason he chooses to ignore that inadequacy in his squad," he said.

"Mikel Arteta is a nice footballer and does his best in an unfamiliar role but he is not a defensive midfielder."

On Ozil, Scholes appeared confused as to why the World Cup winner - Arsenal's record signing who cost a cool £42.4 million from Real Madrid last summer - continues to be marooned out wide when it is clearly not a position he is comfortable with.

"I admired Mesut Ozil as a player at Real Madrid but it is no use playing him wide. He is not interested in defending and he needs to be in the centre, among good quality players who get the best out of him. He has that languid style which makes it look like he isn’t trying. I am sure that isn’t the case but he is struggling to find his form and he is too good a player to waste."

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Lack of preparation?

Perhaps Scholes' most scathing criticism of Arsenal, however, related to Arsene Wenger and his staff's pre-match preparation process when it game to organising the team to face quality opposition.

"I do wonder how much Arsenal look at videos of the opposition in their preparation for games like the one they played on Tuesday," he added.

"Watching the match it seemed like they hadn’t given Dortmund much more than a moment’s consideration. All Wenger and Arsenal appear to think about is how they are going to approach the game and how they will play. Which is fine if you win all the time but not if - like Arsenal - you haven’t made it out of the Champions League’s last 16 for the previous four seasons."

Villa trip

Following that disappointing loss at the atmospheric Signal Iduna Park, Arsenal are back in domestic action tomorrow afternoon with a trip to the Midlands to face an Aston Villa side who currently occupy second place in the Premier League table.

While Paul Lambert's side have flirted rather too frequently with relegation over recent years, they have shown real character and resolve during the early stages of the 2014/15 campaign and claimed a hard-fought 1-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield last time out.

Arsenal fans, do you agree with Scholes' criticisms? Is Arteta good enough to be playing in his current role and is Ozil wasted out wide? Should Wenger do more to prepare his team for the challenges posed by the likes of Dortmund? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box provided below.

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Paul Scholes
UEFA Champions League
Borussia Dortmund
Manchester United
Premier League

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