Five players Arsenal should sell this summer: Xhaka, Mustafi, Bellerin
Arsenal's many deficiencies have been ruthlessly exposed -- twice: in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday and the Premier League on Thursday -- by Manchester City in recent days. The immediate aftermath of their two 3-0 losses has mainly focused on Arsene Wenger and the increased likelihood that the manager won't be at the club next season.
But the consecutive hammerings have also shown again that Wenger isn't the only one to blame for the team's decline. There are too many players in that Arsenal squad who aren't getting the job done, and the club will need to wield the axe this summer if they're serious about rebuilding.
Here's a look at five players they should consider replacing.
Many of Arsenal's problems stem from the fact they don't have a proper holding midfielder. And it's become painfully clear this season that Xhaka isn't the man for the job. The Switzerland international has plenty of attacking qualities, but his defensive deficiencies outweigh them and he's a step too slow to play in central midfield in the Premier League.
The decision to spend £35 million on him in 2016 after scouting him for more than a year has come to symbolise Arsenal's broken recruitment strategy of the past few years. They might not get their money back in the summer, but it's time to cut their losses.
Arsenal were willing to let Mustafi go last summer, just a year after making him the most expensive defender in club history, and his recent performances surely haven't done much to change their minds. The Germany international has looked good value for money at times, but he makes too many simple errors to be trusted -- the pathetic defending on Sergio Aguero's opening goal at Wembley being the latest example.
Arsenal need a much more commanding presence at the back. Selling him and Xhaka would be an admission that the £75m or so spent in the summer of 2016 was a complete waste, but there's no point in continuing to pretend otherwise.
It's been sad to see the Welbeck of this season, because everyone had hoped he would return to his best after fighting so hard to recover from two long-term knee injuries. But his body keeps letting him down with minor muscle problems, and his confidence has clearly gone as a result.
He remains a hard worker who will always put in a shift, but his ability to make an impact on a game seems completely lost. In addition, there is no clear role for him in this side -- he's the third-choice striker when everyone is fit and too limited as an attacking midfielder or winger. Restarting his career at a mid-table club seems the best option.
Arsenal fans would have been outraged had the club sold Bellerin to Barcelona last year, even for £50m. But the club will be lucky to get any offers anywhere close to that this summer, if Barca are even still interested in their former academy product.
Once hailed as one of the world's most promising right-backs, Bellerin's status has taken a massive hit this season. A former winger who retrained as a fullback, the Spaniard always needed to develop his defensive game to match his attacking talent. But he shows no signs whatsoever of doing so, and was brutally exposed by Leroy Sane in Arsenal's last two matches. He even had a torrid time against Ostersunds' Ken Sema, a player whom he'd probably never even not heard of before that tie.
It's a shame to see the Spaniard's development stall so completely, but Arsenal need defenders who can actually defend and Bellerin just doesn't look interested.
In many ways, Elneny is everything you want in a squad player: He has a great attitude, tireless work ethic, never complains about a lack of playing time and is always ready to do whatever the manager asks of him.
Unfortunately, he's simply not good enough to play for a team that is serious about challenging for major titles. Arsenal got what they paid for when they spent around £7m on the Egyptian: a decent backup, but nothing more. They need to set their sights higher, especially when it comes to the holding midfield position.
Mattias is ESPN FC's Arsenal correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @MattiasKaren.