Mikel Arteta’s FA Cup triumph last season has ‘papered over the cracks’ of Arsenal’s problems and the Gunners should have appointed Carlo Ancelotti instead of the Spaniard.
That is the view of Darren Bent, who believes the north London club would have been better off handing the reins to the trusty Italian when he was available before he went to Everton.
Arsenal’s season is hanging in the balance, with their only chance of Champions League qualification hinging on them winning the Europa League.
The Gunners are languishing in ninth position and their hopes of reaching the semi-finals in the Europa League are hanging by a thread after Slavia Prague snatched a late and crucial away goal to give them the advantage in the tie.
They bounced back from the midweek disappointment by comfortably defeating rock-bottom Sheffield United on Sunday evening but Bent believes the Gunners made the wrong choice by hiring the inexperienced Arteta too early.
“When Arsenal were looking for a manager there was two people up for grabs: Arteta and Ancelotti,” the former England striker and Arsenal fan told talkSPORT.
“I thought Arteta should have been the one to go to Arsenal and Arteta to go to Everton.”
Bent reckons Arteta could well be axed if Arsenal exit the Europa League and finish mid table in the Premier League – although he hopes the club give him more time.
“The early signs were really good in terms of look how quickly he picked up a trophy. Yes, this season has been really inconsistent but I don’t want Arsenal to turn into a club where they keep sacking managers – at some stage you’ve got to give someone a little bit of time,” he said.
“The FA Cup papers over a lot of cracks and if Arsenal go out of the Europa League and finish tenth or eleventh, I think he could be out of a job.
“I would like to see him stay and turn it around because I’m not big on sacking managers. Arsenal are not Chelsea.
“Chelsea have been very successful doing it that way but I don’t think that will work for Arsenal.”
Perry Groves, meanwhile, believes Arteta’s poor handling of captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been a big factor in the club’s woeful run of form.
“He’s asking players to do stuff they can’t do because of Man City and Guardiola,” he declared.
“He wants them to play out the back and be intricate.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stuck by Harry Maguire 100 per cent. Leaving your captain out when he’s late and dropping him, he should have pulled him to one side and fine him two weeks and say: ‘Mate you cannot be doing that’.
“Then leaving him out after the Liverpool debacle. He’s lost the trust of the captain and the whole dressing room.”