Xenia Sports – London
Arsenal players should focus on getting their own individual performance right rather than looking to blame anyone else for the team’s shortcomings this season, according to former goalkeeper David Seaman.
The Gunners host Manchester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Tuesday night looking to kickstart a domestic campaign which so far has failed to get up and running.
While Arsenal may have coasted through their Europa League group, Saturday’s defeat at Everton leaves Mikel Arteta’s side languishing in 15th place in the table – and without a Premier League victory since the start of November.
It is the north London club’s worst start to a top-flight season since 1974-75, with Arteta facing questions over both his own future and the direction of the team.
Seaman was part of Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal squad which won the Premier League twice, as well as the Double in both 1998 and 2002.
The 57-year-old maintains it is down to each and every one of the current side to make sure they are producing at the required level to “kick on”.
Seaman told the PA news agency: “For Arsenal, it (Carabao Cup quarter-final) will be a bit of a break from their league form, but you cannot just turn it on and off.
“Their Premier League form is terrible, there is no doubt about that, but we need to kick on and start putting some performances in, because at the moment it is not acceptable.
“It is a build up of things, but what is happening now is players are just drained of confidence.
“They are making four or five-yard passes to each other and they cannot control it – that is nerves in the game.
“It is just about getting through that, in times like this, you look to your experienced players and hopefully they can drag you through.
“We have got a lot of young players in the Arsenal team but at the moment they have no one to look to because everyone is seeming to have a lack of confidence.”
Seaman added: “I have had those feelings before, and you just have to close the doors, close the gates and focus on yourself – try to make sure your own game is right before you start having a go at other people.
“I see a lot of players passing the ball, then moving their arms, trying to tell the other players where to go – but it is a case of making sure your own game is spot-on first, because there is nothing worse than teams starting to argue.
“Luckily we have not seen that at Arsenal, but you can definitely see the lack of confidence and a nervousness about a lot of passing.
“They have got a great test against City – and can you imagine the confidence they would get from beating City?
“But they are going to have to be on the ball against City, because (manager) Pep (Guardiola) will put out a strong team, he always does. If Arsenal don’t, then it could be embarrassing.”
Despite the current problems, Seaman feels Arteta remains the right man for the job “by a long way”.
Seaman added: “I like how he speaks, and my (Arsenal) friends give me great reports of what he does at the training ground.
“For me, he needs to stay and the club need to back him in getting the players he wants.
“At the moment, there are a few players at Arsenal that maybe need to leave to create funds to get better players.”
:: Arsenal v Manchester City takes place on Tuesday, December 22 in the Carabao Cup sponsored by Carabao Energy Drink