Sol Campbell: Arsenal have leadership and coaching issues

In a guest column for Paddy Power News, The Gunners legend had plenty to say on Arsenal’s showing in yesterday’s Carabao Cup final…


Arsenal didn’t turn up in any capacity in yesterday Carabao Cup final, elementary mistakes cost them.

You saw it especially with the first goal, Shkodran Mustafi had no awareness about him. You can’t be offside from a goal kick, but naturally as a defender you’re supposed to defend first. That’s your job!

It’s such a simple ball over the top and he needs to have a look at what’s around him. He has to ask himself ‘I can’t see my striker in front of me, where is he?’ and take care of it. It’s a case of he either doesn’t know the rules, he doesn’t sense him behind him or he thought he was fouled.

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You really need someone to pick on details like that and demand more of them. That needed to be picked up on at the start of the season, the minute it was seen creeping in by a coach. The player needs to be told, “this is not the correct way, we don’t want these types of performances and or mentality”.

Outside of that though, the whole Arsenal team didn’t play yesterday. When you look at Manchester City’s goals, they were all preventable. The first one was lack of awareness and the second comes from the set-up at a corner kick.

When the ball gets cut back to the edge of the box, what are all the Arsenal players doing in a straight line?

You’re supposed to push up it that situation, yet they all stay in position and when the ball comes into the box it’s easy for someone to deflect it in – like Vincent Kompany did in this case. However, if you push up and Kompany stays in there, then he’s offside.

Arsenal have leadership and coaching issues they’ve got to look at. They also need to ask if the players cared about that particular game? Or were they already believing when they walked out, that they’d lost the game already?

If I was still there I’d be trying to sense that before it started to happened, to see what kind of player and what type of human being I had at the club.

I reckon you can somewhat develop a stronger mentality within certain players, but they’ve got to want to pick it up as well.

You got to look at the individuals, as well as the whole team and not allow things to continue if you know deep inside that is not the way to play for Arsenal.

As for where The Gunners go from here, they’ve got to do something in the Europa League because the Champions League doesn’t look like it’s going to come via their Premier League final position, unless something amazing happens.

The season is in danger of petering out to them finishing sixth, getting knocked out of Europe and not getting a Champions League place. If that occurs, they’d really have to look at what personnel they’ve got at the club.

You can’t overhaul the squad completely, because you have guys on long term contracts and you’ve got what you’ve got.

It’s gradual process, but what you can do is pick up on detail and don’t allow it to slip.

When I look at Arsene Wenger’s team yesterday, simple things let them down. Awareness, detail, fighting, running and earning the right to play.

If you go out with no fear, at least if you lose the other side had to work really hard to beat you. Manchester City didn’t need to work hard to beat Arsenal yesterday.

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