Charlie Nicholas: Why Arsene Wenger isn’t to blame for Arsenal loss

Charlie Nicholas blasts Arsenal's fringe players after 2-1 defeat by Dinamo Zagreb

Charlie Nicholas says the Arsenal players and not Arsene Wenger are to blame for their 2-1 loss to Dinamo Zagreb in their Champions League opener.

The north London side had Olivier Giroud sent off for a second bookable offence before Theo Walcott netted what ultimately proved a late consolation for Arsenal.

Every time they fail the manager will get caned because of the changes he made. Some of these players don’t turn up when they are given an opportunity, so why should he trust them as much as he does?

Charlie Nicholas

Wenger handed captain Mikel Arteta a rare start, whilst Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy and David Ospina were given the opportunity to impressed ahead of Saturday’s trip to Chelsea.

And former Arsenal midfielder Nicholas blasted the north London side’s second-string players after a losing start to their Champions League group-stage campaign.

“It was really, really poor,” Nicholas told Sky Sports.

“There were six changes and although that’s a bit over the top for me, I still think it should have been enough to get a win, never mind a point.

“After 20 minutes I thought it was going nice and easy, but then I started to worry around that period of the game when Arteta and Santi Cazorla slowed it down and a leisurely, horrible slowness crept into their play. All of a sudden they were punished.

“There’s nobody left to blame but themselves. For the first goal, Debuchy pushed in too deep when he didn’t need to and Oxlade-Chamberlain switched off. The second goal was an absolute shocker in the second half.

“Maybe six changes is a bit over the top and people think Wenger is arrogant or is taking it easier than he should, but these players have got so much trust and belief from their manager.

“Every time they fail the manager will get caned because of the changes he made. Some of these players don’t turn up when they are given an opportunity, so why should he trust them as much as he does?

“They are responsible at the end of the day for their performance. It’s not tactics, commitment or anything like that. You are a better player than them, so perform – and they don’t perform.”

Arsenal have won three of their five opening Premier League games this season.

Wenger’s side were 2-0 winners against Stoke City at Emirates Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

MORE: Read the latest Arsenal player tweets

The Gunners are in third place ahead of their trip to defending English champions in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Thomas Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel sends frank message to Ben Chilwell about his situation at Chelsea FC
Thomas Tuchel
Paul Merson reveals his prediction for Tottenham v Chelsea FC
Fabrizio Romano
'Talks ongoing': Fabrizio Romano provides update on Antonio Rudiger's Chelsea FC contract situation
Paul Merson
‘I fancy them’: Paul Merson reveals his prediction for Burnley v Arsenal
Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino issues warning about Chelsea FC in the Champions League
Thomas Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel sends frank message to Ben Chilwell about his situation at Chelsea FC
Thomas Tuchel
Paul Merson reveals his prediction for Tottenham v Chelsea FC
Fabrizio Romano
'Talks ongoing': Fabrizio Romano provides update on Antonio Rudiger's Chelsea FC contract situation
Paul Merson
‘I fancy them’: Paul Merson reveals his prediction for Burnley v Arsenal
Mauricio Pochettino
Mauricio Pochettino issues warning about Chelsea FC in the Champions League
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature