Former England midfielder Paul Scholes has launched a scathing attacking on Arsenal, suggesting their midfielder Jack Wilshere has not progressed as a player under the guidance of Gunners manager Arsene Wenger.
Scholes was passing his judgement on Arsenal after their 2-2 draw against Swansea in his role as Sky Sports pundit, with his comments on the abilities of Wilshere likely to be the subject of much debate in the coming days.
Many observers have suggested that Arsenal's 22-year-old playmaker was the most gifted midfielder England have produced since Scholes was in his pomp for Manchester United and on the international stage, but the 11-time Premier League title winner begs to differ.
"When Jack Wilshere came on the scene, what a top young player he looked," suggested Scholes. "Injuries haven't helped him, but his development from 17 years of age, he doesn't look any better player now than he did when he was 17.
"He needs people like [Patrick] Vieira, characters like that, to take him on to the next level. Characters and leaders are important. You play Arsenal now, get stuck in about them and you've won the game."
The outspoken Scholes was equally forthright in condemning Arsenal manager Wenger and his team, in a week when they have lost 6-0 to Chelsea and saw their title hopes fade further with a 2-2 home draw against Swansea. "It's probably a typical week for Arsenal really," said Scholes. "They capitulated at Chelsea and it seems to be a similar theme that happens when they play the top teams. It happened at Liverpool, they conceded six at [Manchester] City and for one reason or another, players just seem to go missing.
"[Mikel] Arteta, [Santi] Cazorla, [Tomas] Rosicky, [Mesut] Ozil, it seems like they go on the pitch with no discipline. It's almost as if [the manager says] you four, five midfielders go out there and do what you want. Try and score us a goal, a few nice one-twos. Tippy-tappy football, don't bother running back. "I don’t know if it is what the manager does, but there is no discipline, there is no leader for them. There is no Patrick Vieira, no [Tony] Adams, no [Martin] Keown.
"If they go 2-0 down, they just carry on what they are doing. Ah I'll walk up front, lose the ball, play a nice little one-two and you wonder why they are in the position they are in.
"It’s Arsenal fans you feel sorry for. They seem to get the same thing every year. Maybe a little hint of the title for a few weeks and then they go to Chelsea, they go to City, they go to Liverpool and just do nothing.
"Fans expect Arsenal to be going for the league title and I know they are in third or fourth place or whatever, but they are a million miles away in my eyes."