Rio Ferdinand pinpoints why Arsenal are struggling under Mikel Arteta

Rio Ferdinand says Arsenal are struggling under Mikel Arteta due to "lack of harmony"

Rio Ferdinand
Ex-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand (Photo: BT Sport)

Rio Ferdinand believes that Arsenal are struggling under Mikel Arteta due to a “lack of harmony” at the north London club.

The Gunners have endured a difficult start to Arteta’s first full season in charge at The Emirates following his appointment as Unai Emery’s permanent successor in December 2019.

Arsenal showed some signs of progress under Arteta in the second half of the 2019-20 Premier League season, winning the FA Cup trophy thanks to a victory over Chelsea FC in the Wembley showpiece.

However, the Gunners have struggled badly in the 2020-21 Premier League campaign to heap pressure on the Spanish head coach.

Arsenal had already lost seven times in 12 games in the Premier League ahead of the visit of Southampton at The Emirates on Wednesday night.

The Gunners are closer to the relegation zone than the top four following their run of defeats to leave big questions marks over Arteta.

Former Manchester United defender Ferdinand believes Arsenal are struggling due to a “lack of harmony” at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

“I just think they’re lacking in harmony,” Ferdinand told his YouTube channel.

“We’ve seen the new signing, [William] Saliba, talking to [Matteo] Guendouzi on social media. And obviously Mesut Ozil is on the sidelines as well.

“Mikel Arteta came in and bang, set my stool out this is what is going on and these players aren’t playing.

“Now, if you do that and you are winning like he was earlier on in the season, then you don’t hear anything. You don’t hear any murmurs or mutterings behind the scenes from any players because you cannot say anything.

“Once that changes and you start losing games and pressure starts mounting. Then the people that aren’t playing start being a part of the group that maybe affects the harmony.

“That’s why you either have to get rid of them and get them out of the building. Or you have got to keep that door ajar and let them know there’s an opportunity, so they don’t become bitter and they don’t become people that want to talk in the media.

“I think it’s down to Arteta to handle that. He has to handle the dilemmas of the changing rooms.”

Arsenal finished in eighth position in the Premier League table last season to miss out on a place in the Champions League for the fourth successive campaign.

The Gunners signed Chelsea FC star Willian, Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey, Lille centre-half Gabriel, Dijon goalkeeper Alex Runarsson in the 2020 summer transfer window.

The north London side will take on Everton away from home in the Premier League on Saturday.

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