By Chris Harris
Arsenal lack leadership.
It’s a charge Arsène Wenger has heard before and it’s been levelled at his squad again this week after an FA Cup defeat at Manchester United saw them exit a third competition inside a fortnight.
Critics claim that Wenger has never adequately replaced Tony Adams or Patrick Vieira, two natural leaders who were the Club’s only captains from 1987 to 2005.
Arsenal have not picked up a trophy since Vieira left - although they have come mighty close - but Wenger does not see a connection between the six-year wait for silverware and the make-up of his squad.
The Frenchman knows that victories are the only answer to the doubters but, as he pointed out at his pre-match press conference, he has lost big games with the likes of Adams and Vieira in his team.
“I don't agree that [a lack of leadership has] been the problem. I just would like to remind you that we lost in the Champions League with Adams, Vieira, with everybody,” said Wenger.
“In 2004 we lost to Man United in the FA Cup Semi-Final and we lost to Chelsea in the last minute of the Champions League but we still responded and won the championship that was at stake.
“No leader guarantees you that you will not lose a football game but what it is important now is how we respond with what we have in front of us.
“In football you can look back and learn from it, look back feel sorry for it or you can look forward and say it’s worth going for it. We respond to that [criticism] by winning our games.”Copyright 2013 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 17 Mar 2011