By Chris Harris
It's too simplistic to blame a lack of experience for Arsenal's failures this year, according to Arsène Wenger.
The Club's last trophy came in 2005 when Patrick Vieira secured the FA Cup from the penalty spot with his last kick as an Arsenal player. Since then Wenger has overseen a string of near-misses but another season of promise has faded away in recent weeks.
Critics say that Arsenal lack the experienced players they need to land silverware and argue that Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to keep faith in the evergreen Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes has helped Manchester United stay at the top.
So should Wenger have tried harder to keep hold of Vieira in the summer of 2005?
"Patrick is a great player but it’s difficult to know what would have happened," he replied.
"The team has accumulated a lot of experience despite their age. They are 23 on average but football-wise they are 26 or 27. I gave them a chance to play at a young age and I don’t regret that.
"Maybe I could have got some more experienced players but it is too easy to say that.
"They [the current squad] are very close to their peak," he added. "We need to strengthen some areas but we have the quality.
"At the moment we have to face some scepticism, but we have to keep believing in our strengths. These players all started at a very young age and they should be ready."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source