Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Uncertainty over Arsene's Future Has Given Players an Excuse to Underperform; / in Association With

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Uncertainty over Arsene's Future Has Given Players an Excuse to Underperform; / in Association With

Article excerpt

Byline: Harry Redknapp Read Harry's column every Thursday

THE uncertainty over Arsene Wenger's future has been a disruption to Arsenal for months but the players cannot use that as an excuse in the FA Cup Final.

Saturday is a one-off game against a top team, with a trophy on the line. They beat Manchester City in the semi-finals when they were everybody's second-favourites, coming together to find a way to win -- and that's what Arsenal must do all over again.

It's not an impossible task. We're not talking about massive underdogs here. They have matchwinners -- Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil can turn it on at any moment -- and that always gives you a chance.

Arsene said last weekend his situation has made things more difficult in the last few months but the real 'disruption' is that it has given the players an excuse to underperform.

You hear Arsenal players saying 'It's been difficult... I don't know what I'm going to do next season... it depends on the manager' but I doubt they care that much.

A new manager comes in and the old one is forgotten overnight, in the players' minds anyway.

Arsene is a professional and he'll have set his teams up in the right way. Nothing will have changed on a dayto-day basis, so if their level drops, that's down to them not fancying it.

You can argue it's Arsene's job to motivate them -- and that's probably why a lot of the fans want him out because they are always so inconsistent -- but hunger should not be an issue at Wembley.

The competition isn't what it was but the final is still a great occasion.

You don't want to stand there and watch the other team celebrate afterwards, no matter what the trophy is.

Arsenal's biggest problem is in defence. Losing Laurent Koscielny to suspension is a massive blow for them and with Gabriel out and Shkodran Mustafi a big doubt, Per Mertesacker (left, in training yesterday) could start his first game in over a year. That would be a massive call.

The last time something like that happened was probably when Ledley King came in for Tottenham against Chelsea in the 2008 League Cup Final but even he had played six times earlier in the season. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.