MANCHESTER. — Arsene Wenger remained defiant on Sunday after Arsenal’s 3-2 capitulation at Manchester United prompted much criticism, with one distinguished former international suggesting their performance bordered on “a joke”.
As the London club’s ability to make the most of their best chance in years to win the English Premier League soccer title was called into question, manager Wenger was adamant his team had the character to bounce back in the next two games.
After being outplayed at home by Barcelona in the Champions League in midweek and then losing ground to second-placed Tottenham Hotspur with their defeat at United, former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness, now a trenchant TV analyst, led the shrill chorus of criticism.
“Arsenal today bordered on being a joke,” the former Scotland hardman said on Sky Sports. “It was tailor-made for a proper team to come here and really do a number on a very under-strength Man United. And they didn’t.
“I want to be harsh on Arsenal. It was more of a tippy-tippy football by Arsenal, going nowhere, that’s why they have 60 percent possession. Arsenal today bordered on being a joke. Arsene Wenger must be tearing his hair out. There’s a word I want to use but I can’t use it, which describes a lack of something that real players have and this Arsenal team lack it in abundance.
“And I’ll stand on my head if they prove me wrong and go and win this league, because that today was totally unacceptable. I thought today they would come here with an opportunity to put a marker on the wall and say, ‘we’re back in this race.’ And they’ve come back here today and been so insipid, so weak and pussyfooted. All they’ve done today is said to the opposition this team can be rolled over. If I was an Arsenal supporter I would be so angry right now.” — Reuters.