Monday 9 December 2019

Arsenal lack winning mentality, claims Santi Cazorla

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla
Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla

Matt Law

Arsenal players believe that manager Arsene Wenger's refusal to work on the opposition has cost them a shot at the Premier League title this season.

The defeat at Everton last weekend meant that Arsenal have lost away from home against all their immediate rivals, conceding 20 goals.

Wenger's side conceded six at Chelsea and Manchester City, let in five goals at Anfield and were beaten 3-0 by Everton. During each game, Wenger's team conceded at least once during the opening 20 minutes.

The heavy defeats have led to Arsenal dropping out of the title race and the club now face a fight with Everton to qualify for the Champions League.

A section of Wenger's squad would like to do more work on the opposition and believe it could help them to start stronger when faced by the Premier League's better teams.

Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea manager, and Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, sent their sides out to kill off Arsenal quickly by pressing high up the pitch, while Everton's Roberto Martinez deployed Romelu Lukaku on the right to expose their opponents' left side.

Wenger's philosophy is to concentrate on Arsenal's strengths and to send his side out to impose their style of play on the game, rather than trying to counter the opposition.

Santi Cazorla, however, has admitted that Arsenal lack a winning mentality and believes that the club will need to invest heavily over the summer.

"We haven't got a winning mentality and we have to believe in ourselves (more)," Cazorla said.

"Sometimes you can get used to not fighting, but we can't do that.

"Arsenal is and will always be a historic football club, we have to look forward. We had a lot of chances to win against Manchester United and there was (Mesut) Ozil's penalty against Bayern Munich.

"And the defeat against Stoke finished us. You can't lose against Stoke if you aspire to be the next champion."

Wenger broke Arsenal's transfer record last summer by signing Ozil for £42.5m from Real Madrid, but Cazorla believes that the club will need to invest further for Arsenal to avoid falling further behind Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool, and being caught by Manchester United next season.

"Arsenal has everything to win," Cazorla said. "History, infrastructure, an incredible stadium and great players.

"But we have to improve at crucial moments and sign the best football players because if you don't do that, you may lag behind others. That is what makes it different at other clubs.

"You've a good example in Manchester City who signed Fernandinho, Negredo or even Manchester United with (Robin) van Persie and (Juan) Mata.

"Arsenal know what they need next season, but it's almost impossible to win a title if we haven't got these kind of things." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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