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THE TAKE

Only seven players out of Arsenal’s entire squad deserve to play for the club

This week's 'The Take' looks at each player of the Gunners' 30-man squad and judges whether or not they are up to scratch

Yes, this is extremely reactionary.

But if you can’t be reactionary after that, when can you be?

Man City beat Arsenal 3-0 in the League Cup final yesterday and while you can’t blame the Gunners for losing to a formidable opponent, their performance has been worthy of the backlash.

The second half made for painful viewing if you’re an Arsenal fan

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The second half made for painful viewing if you’re an Arsenal fan

Gary Neville led the charge live on air with half an hour still on the clock.

The Sky Sports commentator couldn’t identify one positive from an Arsenal perspective and he pulled no punches in his assessment of their display.

Some Arsenal fans would have felt compelled to defend their club in the face of such brutal criticism but, to me, supporting a team means wanting what’s best for the club.

And right now Arsenal need a forcible kick up the a**e.

The truth hurts

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The truth hurts

Neville labelled Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey ‘spineless’ for seemingly kneeling down before a rampant City side and allowing them to coast to victory.

Before Sergio Aguero’s goal I thought Arsenal’s tactics were working quite well against the four centre-mids of City.

If I was an Arsenal fan all I would have wanted to see after the opener was a bit a fight, some character.

Mentality comes from the top down and Arsene Wenger must take responsibility for the severe deterioration in Arsenal’s self-belief since the glory days of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and co.

Looking at Arsenal’s squad I am struck by the overall lack of quality.

Wenger has welcomed mediocrity and become accepting of players with major flaws in their game, showing a worrying lack of ambition.

Worlds apart

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Worlds apart

It’s not the players’ fault if they are playing at maximum capacity and still aren’t good enough for a club’s of Arsenal’s standing.

Questions must asked of the club’s recruitment policy in these instances.

Let’s go through Arsenal’s ‘first team’ as listed by the club’s official website and count all the players who are definitely good enough to play for a top six Premier League club…

Petr Cech – A legendary goalkeeper but no longer at the peak of his powers. Would still be great for a mid-table club but first-choice for Arsenal? NO

David OspinaNO

Per Mertesacker – Retiring at the end of the season. NO

Laurent Koscielny – A class act on his day but a troublesome Achilles injury now hampers his mobility and at 32 he’ll only go downhill. NO

Rob HoldingNO

Nacho Monreal – A tireless worker and consistent performer. YES

Shkodran Mustafi – Not the player Wenger thought he was. NO

Calum ChambersNO

Hector Bellerin – Speed isn’t everything. Poor decision-making in final third and vulnerable against top wingers; Douglas Costa, Leroy Sane, etc. NO

Konstantinos Mavropanos – Hasn’t played a game UNDECIDED

Sead KolasinacYES

Monreal can be proud of his efforts this season

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Monreal can be proud of his efforts this season

Henrikh Mkhitaryan – In desperate need of effective man management and a system that suits him but a gifted playmaker. YES

Aaron Ramsey – Tough one. I guess a lot of Arsenal fans would say yes but from an outside perspective he’s been at the heart of many dismal team performances. UNDECIDED

Jack Wilshere – Possesses much-needed fight and spirit. Has ability as well. Injury prone but worth sticking with. YES

Mesut Ozil – World-class. Too often let down by his team-mates YES

Santi Cazorla – What a wonderful footballer. Would be a undoubted yes but I fear we may never see him play 90 minutes again. Regretfully, NO

Granit Xhaka – Has been woefully under par since he arrived in the Premier League. NO

Ashley Maitland-NilesUNDECIDED

Mohamed Elneny – Tidy player, would thrive at a mid-table club but not elite. NO

If I were in a more generous mood then Ramsey would make the cut

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If I were in a more generous mood then Ramsey would make the cut

Alexandre Lacazette – Deserves more time. YES

Pierre-Emerick AubameyangYES

Alex IwobiNO

Danny Welbeck Has his attributes but incredibly frustrating. NO

Let’s include players out on loan as well for kicks…

Emiliano MartinezUNDECIDED

Carl JenkinsonNO

Jeff Reine-AdelaideUNDECIDED

Joel CampbellNO

Takuma AsanoUNDECIDED

Lucas Perez – Remember him? NO

Chuba AkpomNO

I hate to be DAT GUY, Danny

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I hate to be DAT GUY, Danny

So then, we have a final tally of seven.

Seven players out of 30 that are definitely worthy of representing a team of Arsenal’s standing.

However, Monreal and Kolasinac both play best at left-back and accommodating both Lacazette and Aubameyang into the starting XI would require a bold change of system.

Desperate times

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Desperate times

I’m happy to be convinced of Ramsey’s worth and the youngsters who have only played half a dozen games or so may develop into quality players.

Even so, you’d have to say it’s a bleak state of affairs.

A drastic overhaul is needed; be that a change of owners, a culling of sub-par talent, WENGER OUT, or all three.

However it comes, it needs to come soon or the gap between Arsenal and the other top six teams will only grow more significant.

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