Now without a win in eight matches across all competitions, the former Gunners skipper says mentalities need to change in north London
Someone needs to give Arsenal players a ‘shake’ and tell them to stop waiting for things to happen on the pitch, Tony Adams has said, with the former club captain of the opinion that the current squad are ‘looking after themselves a little too much’ and need to be braver.
The Gunners are currently on a streak of nine matches without a win in all competitions following their match with Brighton at the Emirates on Thursday, the hosts having fallen to a 2-1 defeat courtesy of goals from Adam Webster and Neal Maupay.
Much has been made of the wealth of talent Arsenal have at their disposal not being utilised correctly as they continue to struggle for form, but Adams feels that it is down to the players to ‘stand up and be counted’.
“I think they are looking after themselves a little bit too much,” Adams told Premier League Productions.
“They need brave people on and off the pitch. You need a bit of honesty here, and a coach to go ‘hold on a minute, come on guys’. You need to be called out. And I don’t think a lot of that has been going on.
“The coaches put on lovely sessions for the team and everything goes round and round until you go ‘actually guys, you’re the ones on the pitch, you’ve got to make the decisions and stand up and be counted’.
“There are not too many of those guys out there. They’re all kind of looking after themselves. And the minute it goes wrong, they’ve gone. They’ve gone under. It’s too lightweight, there’s not enough characters in there.
“I think they are feeling a little bit sorry for themselves. I think they need a bit of a shake. If I were the coach in there I’d definitely be giving them a shake and saying ‘look, be more scared of me than actually getting out there and getting on with it’. That’s what they need at the moment.
“They are sitting there waiting for things to happen instead of going and making it happen. They are ready for it to go wrong. When you go into a football pitch expecting bad things to happen they usually do.”
Unai Emery calling on fans to help spur on the team was a common refrain towards the end of his stewardship, while Freddie Ljungberg echoed those statements following his appointment.
Adams, though, insists that it is not the crowd’s job to lift the team in times of poor form, but rather the players’ task to get the crowd back on side through hard work and persistence.
“You’ve got to walk on to that football pitch so positive, ‘we’re the best team in the country, we’re going to prove to everybody we’re fantastic players’. Like I said, at the moment they are a little bit sorry for themselves,” Adams said.
Article continues below
“It’s difficult – I remember back in the day if we weren’t leading at half-time they’d boo us off the pitch. They’ve got high expectations at the club. It’s irrelevant if those expectations are unrealistic.
“For me, you’re a player, you play for the Arsenal, you represent the club, you perform to your 100 per cent. There are not a lot of players doing that. They are all looking after themselves, blaming other people, you can’t be like that.
“You can’t wait for the crowd to help you, it’s the other way around. We always went out there to do our stuff, then you win the crowd over.”