Arsene Wenger let down by senior Arsenal players says David O'Leary
Published 24/02/2012 | 09:13
Arsene Wenger has been let down by many of his leading players and the Arsenal boss needs to ship out half a dozen of his stars in the summer, according to David O'Leary, the club's record appearance holder.
O'Leary believes the Gunners should keep faith in Wenger but that the manager needs to wield the axe and bring in fresh blood.
Wenger should have more than £50million at his disposal for new signings - and perhaps more should Arsenal finish fourth and qualify for the Champions League - and O'Leary believes the Frenchman should not hesitate to act.
He told Press Association Sport: "Arsenal need to change about half a dozen players. I think Arsene has been let down by a group of players he had a belief in.
"That group have been failures in my eyes and now a change is needed.
"Just look at the AC Milan game last week - they were well and truly beaten but what will disappoint Arsene Wenger is that this Milan side was not nearly as good as the other Milan sides he has played down the years.
"Arsenal are now fighting it out with Chelsea for fourth place - and they only good thing for them is that Chelsea are struggling too."
Stan Kroenke, the American who is Arsenal's majority shareholder, attended a board meeting at the club yesterday after which the club announced a price freeze on general admission season-ticket renewals for next season.
Arsenal and Tottenham have also issued a joint statement warning fans that anti-social behaviour during Sunday's north London derby will not be tolerated.
Spurs' former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor is the biggest concern - he was the target of abuse during the first meeting between the sides at White Hart Lane in October.
The statement read: "A north London derby is always a special occasion and we hope this game will be remembered for both the action on the pitch as well as the positive support for both teams off it.
"All fans should be aware that breaches of ground regulations - including anti-social behaviour - will not be tolerated."
Adebayor has endured a poor relationship with Arsenal since leaving to join Manchester City in 2009.
In his first game against the Gunners, the 27-year-old ran the full length of the pitch at Eastlands to celebrate in front of the travelling fans after having been verbally abused throughout the match.
The striker caused even greater fury when he raked his studs over the face of now Gunners skipper Robin van Persie during the same game.
Arsenal fans have never forgiven Adebayor for his conduct during that match in Manchester.
When the rivals met in October some chanted "It should have been you, it should have been you... shot in Angola. It should have been you" in reference to the deadly gun attack on the Togo team bus in 2010 which Adebayor survived.
The Gunners are only a place behind Tottenham in the league table - but there is a 10-point gap, and defender Johan Djourou says Arsenal need to forget about that and "go to war".
He told arsenal.com: "When you play them, you forget the table; it is a battle and the best team will win.
"They are in great shape this season, they have been playing a lot better than before but you have to forget about that and go to war.
"It is up to us to show that we are the kings of London."
Djourou said he is looking forward to testing himself against Adebayor again but he did not fear his old team-mate.
He added: "He is a great player, he showed that when he was here. He works hard, he is very good on the ball and obviously he will be a tough opponent but I am not scared of anyone. I am happy to have the opportunity to face him."