Ahead of yesterday’s 1-1 draw with Southampton, quotes from Bernd Leno surfaced in the German media.
Quizzed on Arsenal’s current malaise, the goalkeeper was scathing in his assessment of his teammates.
Interestingly, like Hector Bellerin a couple of weeks ago, he made it very clear that the manager can’t be held responsible for the repeated on-pitch cock-ups that have pockmarked our recent defeats.
“That [pressure on Arteta] is not an issue at all,” he told Sky Germany. “The coach is least to blame for the fact that we are in this situation.
“If you look at the way we were running around on the pitch at times, then the players are the only ones to blame. I have to be honest about that.
“We’re getting red cards, making mistakes, standing out of position. These are things that we have clearly addressed a thousand times. In the end, it’s a lack of focus on the part of the players.
“The coach is not an issue in the dressing room, there is no criticism of him. We criticise ourselves and the players know that they are responsible.
“We actually have quality, but all of a sudden there was this break. But nobody can pin it on just one person.
“The numbers speak for themselves that things haven’t been going well lately. Before that, we often lost deservedly.
“We did draw 0-0 at Leeds, but that was a lucky point. We deserved to lose against Tottenham, against Wolverhampton as well, against Aston Villa even 3-0. Those [games] were just far too many weak results and disappointing performances.
“The attitude is bad, the discipline is lacking and we have no self-confidence. There are many factors at play here.
“We have addressed this very clearly internally and everyone agrees that we have to change this very quickly.”
Reflecting on Granit Xhaka’s red card against Burnley, he added: “Granit himself knows best that he made a mistake. No one has to tell him that.
“Of course, the coach still said it clearly, but that’s it for us now. He’s also suspended now. At the moment, everyone is frustrated.
“He was not in control [of himself in] the situation. No one is being pointed at internally, everyone has messed up here at some point.
“Mistakes like that happen, but they must not be repeated. Even after the sending-off, we still had the chance to equalise and win the game. For us, the topic is now over.”
*Narrators voice* It wasn’t over.
Last night, Arsenal once again had to see out a game with 10 men. On this occasion, centre-back Gabriel received his marching orders for two yellow cards in the space of five minutes. The Gunners clung on for a 1-1 draw against Southampton.