‘It is not acceptable… the brand name is deteriorating’: Jens Lehmann SLAMS Arsenal’s awful start to the season while claiming the players ‘have problems coping with the pressure’
Arsenal Invincible Jens Lehmann has slammed his former club’s start to the Premier League campaign as ‘not acceptable’, while questioning the character of the current crop of players.
The Gunners have endured their worst start to a league campaign since 1981-82, having picked up a just 13 points from 11 matches following their 2-0 derby day defeat to Tottenham last time out.
Arsenal are curently languish in 15th place in the Premier League, a far cry from the glory days that Lehmann used to enjoy at Highbury under legendary manager Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal have endured a nightmare start to the season – languishing in 15th position
‘The position right now is the worst in decades’, Lehmann told Sportsmail. ‘For a club like Arsenal that is not acceptable.
‘All of us old players would try to help and make the Arsenal brand strong and big. We are very disappointed because the brand name is deteriorating, and you simply cannot let that happen.’
Despite getting off to a hugely positive start at the Emirates by winning the FA Cup followed by the Community Shield, Mikel Arteta has since been served a harsh reality check.
The pressure has intensified on Arteta to turn results and performances around, with his side’s attacking displays coming in for heavy criticism having scored just 10 times in 11 games.
The pressure has intensified massively on Mikel Arteta despite early signs of encouragement
But Lehmann insists the blame shouldn’t sit solely at Arteta’s door, claiming the players and the Arsenal hierarchy have to take a hard look at themselves too for the club’s recent failures.
When asked who should shoulder the responsibility, Lehmann replied: ‘Well it is a bit of a mixture.
‘The board has to make the right decisions, the manager has to make the right decisions by signing players and coaching them.
‘The players are in a fantastic environment, they are in London at one of the most traditional clubs.
‘It seems that some of them are still having problems to cope with the pressure because everybody expects them to win something.
Ex-Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann has labelled Arsenal’s start to the season as unacceptable
‘But we are not even talking about winning anymore when you speak of Arsenal. There are a lot of problems.’
Following Wenger’s departure after 22 years in north London, there has been plenty of instability at Arsenal – particularly off the pitch.
Unai Emery has come and gone on the managerial front, while structural changes aplenty – from job titles to personnel – have been made to the club’s hierarchy who have taken a more hands-on approach since Wenger stepped down.
Former midfielder Edu has now taken charge of Arsenal’s recruitment strategy after years of mismanagement in the market – with Arteta working closely to him – following Raul Sanllehi’s departure as head of football.
Arsenal’s current situation is a far cry from the glory days under former boss Arsene Wenger
And it can be argued that the years of instability at the top has certainly played its part in the club’s decline.
And Lehmann believes the leadership up top since Wenger’s days has completely disappeared, while comparing Arsenal’s current decline to that of Manchester United’s.
The former Germany international added: ‘Wenger teamed together with David Dein for a long time. There was huge consistency, and financial consistency. The spine of the team and of the club, that has gone now.
‘But look at Manchester United after Sir Alex has left. It is the same problem there, and football has moved on.
‘It is always the same. If you work for a big club like Arsenal, and you don’t fulfill ambitions, then you have to accept to be replaced.’