Are Arsenal's problems "unfixable" while Wenger is in charge?
By Joe Harker
Arsenal's problems are "unfixable" until manager Arsene Wenger leaves, according to former player Lee Dixon.
The club won three of the last four FA Cups, but have not won the Premier League since the Invincibles season in 2004. Since then they have been plagued by the same problems and accusations of weakness, with Wenger appearing unable to fix those problems during his long run at the club.
They go into the international break sixth in the Premier League, 12 points behind league leaders Manchester City, who recently beat them 3-1. There have been some good results but the same problems seem to have reared their head yet again and the only difference this season sometimes appears to be that the Gunners are in the Europa League rather than the Champions League. On current form they will have to win that competition to clamber back into Europe's top cup, as taking one of the top four places in the Premier League looks like a tough ask.
Former Arsenal right back Dixon was not impressed by the performance against Man City, criticising Wenger for his team selection and tactics. He was particularly unhappy that the team continued to look weak in defence and wondered why Wenger kept leaving out £50 million striker Alexandre Lacazette for big games. He said: "It's quite simple - when I watch them I think 'they could beat anyone on their day going forward, but they could lose to anyone defensively'. That summed it up at the weekend against City.
"The Lacazette thing is another issue, as to why he's not playing, but you play Sanchez up front, who is a chaser of the ball; if he loses the ball then he'll chase to win it back. If you've got that, as a manager, you have to have the players to go and back that up, and he didn't have that. He hasn't got that because they don't know how to do that on a regular basis - they are not a pressing side."
The Daily Express reports that Wenger has been encouraged to change his tactics if he wants any success against close rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Although his teams are know for playing attractive attacking football, a perceived weakness in midfield and defence undermines that quality. Those weaknesses are "a dozen years in the making" according to former striker Kevin Campbell, with Wenger not fixing clear problems during his time in charge.
There are even more problems looming for the Gunners, with star forwards Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez appearing to desire a move away from the club. They could both leave for free in the summer as their contracts are up and the club is being criticised for allowing them to get so close to leaving. The club has invested over £75 million in the players and could lose them both for nothing.