Mikael Silvestre: Arsenal players need to take blame too

Mikael Silvestre has questioned the fight in Arsenal's players and believes the blame shouldn't just sit with under-fire boss Arsene Wenger.

Stuart Appleby
by Stuart Appleby
17th February 2017

article:17th February 2017

The Gunners’ recent poor form, compounded by a humiliating 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on Wednesday night, has raised further question marks over Wenger’s future in charge.

The Frenchman, whose contract expires at the end of this season, confirmed that he still wants to manage beyond the current campaign.

However, he did not make clear whether or not that will be at the Emirates Stadium or at another club, insisting a decision will be made by April.

But Silvestre, who played under the 67-year-old coach for two seasons between 2008 and 2010, insists the club’s top stars should shoulder more of the responsibility.

“It’s easy to point fingers at the manager but the players are there and are getting paid well, and they have to live up to the expectation. You can’t blame the manager all the time,” the ex-Manchester United defender told Sport360 exclusively during a two-day Stade Rennais training camp for National School League youngsters in Jebel Ali.

“It’s difficult for Arsenal again, which is frustrating for everyone involved and the fans. It’s always the same questions, like: ‘Is the team lacking character?’

“When it comes to playing big games and getting silverware, at the crunch time for Arsenal, there is no answer. When you play at the top, just a fraction of less effort or less desire and you won’t be on top at the end of the fight.”

With Arsenal’s Champions League hopes almost over and the club ten points adrift of Chelsea at the top of the Premier League table, many are calling for this to be Wenger’s last season in north London.

And while Silvestre says it is “impossible” to predict if the Arsenal manager will stay on at the helm, he believes Wenger won’t want to leave the club on a low point.

“He has always taken his time to sign his contract and maybe it’s the same now, he’s assessing the situation. He wants to do well and finish on a high, and that maybe won’t be the case this season. So it’s up to him if he has the energy and desire, I think he still has, but it’s also down to the players to do well.”