Troy Deeney claims Arsenal are still soft touches under Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal side are languishing in 15th place in the Premier League
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side are languishing in 15th place in the Premier League (Picture: Getty)

Watford striker Troy Deeney believes Arsenal remain ‘soft touches’ under Mikel Arteta and could be dragged into a relegation dogfight if they lose against Burnley on Sunday.

After making a promising start to his managerial career, Arteta’s rebuilding project has faltered badly with his confidence-starved side languishing in 15th place in the Premier League table heading into this weekend’s fixtures.

The Gunners have lost their last three home matches and were comprehensively outclassed by table topping Tottenham in last weekend’s north London derby defeat.

Deeney infamously accused Arsenal of ‘lacking cajones’ after he played an instrumental role in a Watford victory over the Gunners in 2018. And although the 32-year-old believes Arteta has made some progress during his time at the helm, he questions whether his side will have the stomach for the fight should they lose on Sunday.

He told The Sun: ‘You will probably remember a few years ago that I accused Arsenal players of lacking ‘cojones’ after a defeat at Watford.

Arsenal were outclassed in last weekend's north London derby
Arsenal were outclassed in last weekend’s north London derby (Picture: Getty)

‘Yet that was a comment made after a specific match and however low Mikel Arteta’s side are in the Premier League table, that is not an accusation I would level at them now.

‘They remain something of a soft touch — but a different sort of soft touch. Not a team you can physically intimidate but a team who will always give you a chance.

‘Burnley will believe they can win at the Emirates tomorrow. They will look to exploit Arsenal’s weaknesses from set-pieces and they will look to hit them on the break, too.

‘If they lose, then Arsenal could slip towards a genuine relegation battle and Arteta will be in serious trouble.

‘I actually think Arteta has had some positive influence on the psychology and the culture at Arsenal — but you cannot keep losing games and fall that low down the table at a club of Arsenal’s stature and expect for the board to stay patient.

‘Burnley is a massive game for Arteta. Win it and Arsenal could soon be back in the top half and he can continue to affect change at the club. Lose it and the game might be up.’

MORE : Arsenal chief hands Mikel Arteta vote of confidence following worst ever start to a Premier League season

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