Speaking on his YouTube channel, Goal’s Arsenal correspondent Charles Watts believes the current squad possesses several leadership figures within it, conceding that is perhaps something they have lacked within their side in recent years.
After the comprehensive 4-0 defeat to Liverpool in their most recent league outing, manager Mikel Arteta revealed his delight of his players’ reaction in the dressing room at Anfield, citing how players took on real leadership and responsibility amid the damaging result.
He said, as per Arsenal.com: “I really liked the reaction that we had already in the dressing room at Anfield after the game. How some players took leadership and described what happened in a really honest way, and looked forward.”
Despite being a criticism that has been aimed at the north London outfit regularly in recent years, Watts believes Arteta’s current squad possesses numerous leaders, citing Granit Xhaka, captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Kieran Tierney and summer acquisitions Aaron Ramsdale and Ben White as chief leadership figures.
Watts said: “It’s been well-documented at times Arsenal is a club where you don’t really look at a changing room full of leaders.
“I think Granit Xhaka is certainly one, but he’s not around at the moment. But it feels like that’s changing a little bit now.
“I mean, Aaron Ramsdale, certainly – you know, exactly what he said in that interview after the game to the TV cameras. There’s no doubt in my mind that he went in and he said the exact same thing to the players.
“Now he’s a new face, obviously he’s young – but he’s just the type of character, the type of personality who will go into that changing room and he will make his voice heard, and I think that’s really, really important.
“I think there are some other players in that dressing room as well: I would certainly hope Aubameyang took on what was said, Lacazette maybe had a word, I think Ben White potentially could be in that [leadership group], Kieran Tierney certainly would be in that.”
TIF Thoughts on Watts’ Arsenal leadership claim…
If there’s one thing that Arsenal are constantly criticised about, it’s their lack of leadership. This has been a major concern for the Gunners for arguably the past decade now, but if Arteta’s comments are anything to go by, things may well be changing, as Watts suggests.
While it was always unlikely that they would go to Anfield and beat Liverpool, they can take positives from their first-half display as they largely kept the Reds relatively quiet.
However, despite the comprehensive defeat, if they can bounce back as they did after losing 5-0 to Manchester City earlier in the season, they have a very real chance of finishing in the top four, which would mark an excellent campaign for Arteta’s side.