Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand explains why Arsenal are struggling under Mikel Arteta

Rio Ferdinand has discussed Arsenal's struggles under Mikel Arteta
Rio Ferdinand has discussed Arsenal’s struggles under Mikel Arteta (Pictures: YouTube / Getty)

Former Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand believes Arsenal are struggling under Mikel Arteta because there is a ‘lack of harmony’ at the club.

Arteta initially impressed after replacing Unai Emery in the Emirates hot-seat, with his Arsenal team winning the FA Cup last season.

The Gunners have endured a miserable start to the 2020-21 campaign, however, and lost their fourth successive home match and seventh fixture overall against Burnley on Sunday.

Arsenal are 15th in the Premier League table – nine points adrift of the Champions League places and only five points above the relegation zone.

Asked why Arsenal are struggling under Arteta, Ferdinand told the FIVE YouTube channel: ‘I just think they’re lacking in harmony.

‘We’ve seen the new signing, [William] Saliba, talking to [Matteo] Guendouzi on social media. And obviously Mesut Ozil is on the sidelines as well.

‘Mikel Arteta came in and bang, set my stool out this is what is going on and these players aren’t playing.

‘Now, if you do that and you are winning like he was earlier on in the season, then you don’t hear anything. You don’t hear any murmurs or mutterings behind the scenes from any players because you cannot say anything.

‘Once that changes and you start losing games and pressure starts mounting. Then the people that aren’t playing start being a part of the group that maybe affects the harmony.

‘That’s why you either have to get rid of them and get them out of the building. Or you have got to keep that door ajar and let them know there’s an opportunity, so they don’t become bitter and they don’t become people that want to talk in the media.

‘I think it’s down to Arteta to handle that. He has to handle the dilemmas of the changing rooms.

‘He has to handle the players that are playing but you also have to handle people are in and around the squad that aren’t playing every week.

‘That is where Sir Alex was a genius. He made people feel 10 foot tall and they were subs or they were in the stands.

‘He made them feel that he needed them or believed in them – that’s an area Arsenal are struggling.’

On Wednesday night, Arsenal face in-form Southampton, who climbed to fourth in the Premier League after beating bottom-placed Sheffield United on Sunday.

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