Saturday 16 December 2017

Arsenal pretty but pointless -- Scholes

Mark Ogden

Paul Scholes has written off Arsenal's hopes of challenging Manchester United before a ball has been kicked in the new season after dismissing Arsene Wenger's purist philosophy as pointless.

Wenger's first-team squad report for pre-season training today as the Frenchman faces the biggest challenge of his 15-year reign as Arsenal manager. The club seem to be fighting a losing battle to hold on to star players Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri and yesterday lost full-back Gael Clichy to Manchester City.

Scholes, who ended his 17-year United career last season and is preparing to take his place on United's coaching staff this summer, claimed that Wenger's ethos is flawed and has left Arsenal in crisis.

Scholes said: "Arsenal just flatter to deceive. They may play the prettiest football, but it doesn't always produce the results they need."

He said it "has never irritated me" that people say Arsenal are the best footballing team, "because while they are doing that, we are winning games."

"They do play the best football to watch at times, but what is the point, if you're not winning anything? Not only that, they're potentially going to lose their best players, Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy. I hope Nasri comes to United.

"Success does go in cycles, but I would be surprised if we went six years without a trophy. You can't say it won't happen, because you only have to think of what Liverpool went through, but I don't think our manager will allow that to happen to us."

United were humbled by Barcelona in the Champions League final. It was the second time in three seasons that the talents of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi proved too much for United and Scholes, a substitute in both games, claims overhauling Barcelona is now the biggest challenge of Ferguson's career.

"On the night, we felt that we were a million miles away from them," Scholes admitted. "It was bad, probably as bad as two years ago in Rome.

"How do you bridge the gap? It's a big question and I'm sure the manager is going to have plans about how to do it. Barcelona are the benchmark."

Scholes, though, believes Wayne Rooney can become United's Messi.

"I think Wayne was a little bit disrespectful, but he held his hands up and said sorry," Scholes said of Rooney's attempts to leave last season. "He definitely regretted the statement... But we have not seen the best of him yet.

"He is capable of being the same for us as Messi is for Barcelona... Hopefully we will see the very best of him in the next two or three years." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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