Mikel Arteta has questioned the fitness levels of his squad after the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the Emirates this afternoon.
More than once he suggested that physical issues were at play as the Gunners fell to their London rivals late in the game.
Acknowledging that he is looking for more from them, his comments suggest that this current crop of players aren’t yet fit enough to do what he wants them to over the course of 90 minutes.
“Physically it was tough to maintain the level Chelsea play at at the moment,” he said.
“We are asking them to do something different, to play at a different pace, much more aggressive and at the moment they suffered.
“We had a lot of injuries, we’re putting demands on young players. I don’t think that they didn’t want to do it or that they were scared, I think it was just too physical for them in the end.
“I’m disappointed to lose the game obviously. We had to sustain that level for longer periods against a very, very physical team like Chelsea.”
It’s going to be a long process to get back to where we need to, we all understand that, but it’s a slightly damning indictment of previous regimes that our fitness is not up to scratch.
Just another thing to add to the very long list of things to do.