He said that Arsenal just cannot compete with teams like United, Chelsea etc at the moment. This might of course just have been a windup ahead of the game, but I guess that it's a sign of the times, as it seems to be easy for any manager of a rival team to pick holes in Arsenal's success rate these days.
Very depressing indeed. A few weeks ago, the Arsenal fans sang 'bring back the old Arsenal' and it's clear that the club is being besieged and severely criticised from all sides, rivals and fans alike.
In a blistering attack in The Sun earlier this week, Alan Shearer also severely criticised Arsene Wenger and his team after yet another defeat at the hands of Manchester United at the weekend.
Alex Ferguson himself said before the game that it would be 'hardish' - clearly suggesting that United wasn't really expecting too much opposition. How right he was. His only regret was that his team didn't score more goals when clearly they should have done so.
Whether the score line which by all accounts flattered Arsenal was big or small, the fact is that Arsenal are finding it difficult to win games lately, especially in the Premiership. But what is even worse, is that these days rival teams want to play Arsenal because they believe (rightly or wrongly) that they will get points out of the encounter.
This is an unbelievable turnaround, because a few seasons ago, teams dreaded playing Arsenal, a team that once went unbeaten for 49 games in a row, until they were defeated by ….. Manchester United. Last year's drubbing of 8-2 was even worse, and you could be excused for thinking if you are a Gunner, that Arsenal will never beat United again, at least not for the foreseeable future. And perhaps the other top teams as well.
The Arsenal Board has called for “patience” which is a word that is not part of the vocabulary of most Gunners. The Premiership is also a stranger to the notion of 'patience', because each game that is lost is another three points down the drain, never to be regained. Arsenal are already 9 points off the leaders at this early stage, and the way things are going at present, an even bigger slide is not out of the question.
Arsenal is positioned in 7th place after 10 games, with a meagre 15 points out of a possible 30. Half marks. 50%. This is just not good enough by a long chalk. They have won only 3 out of these 10 games at home, and 1 away, which doesn't even give them a 50% success rate.
Goalscoring is even more depressing: 12 at home and 9 away with 4 and 9 goals respectively against, home and away. So they have scored only 21 goals so far, and conceded a staggering 13. How many other clubs I wonder would countenance these statistics and not have a serious word with the manager?
However, what Arsenal has achieved under Wenger's reign can never be forgotten. He has done fantastically well for them in the past, and as the legend Charlie George once said, he is Arsenal's most successful signing. He has an eye for making very shrewd 'cheapish' signings, turning many players into much sought after stars of the game.
So what has gone wrong?
For me, when the Arsenal Vice Chairman David Dean left in April 2007, the turning point was reached. It was reported that he had 'irreconcilable differences' with other Board members. But it was also said that he took a great deal of interest in the team, and gave Wenger excellent guidance and advice. There has been no one remotely like him since that time. It just feels that recent decisions taken by the Board and manager alike have just not been up to standard.
In his article, Shearer said much the same as Jol, that Arsenal don't look ready to compete with the best teams either in the UK or in Europe. They even struggled to retain their 2-0 lead against Schalke 04 this week, and predictably lost the lead, managing to salvage a draw and one miserable point.
Shearer made the point that the best Arsenal players have been sold but not satisfactorily replaced, and the new players (Cazorla aside) do not come up to scratch. I guess that if they had, Wenger may have been forgiven to an extent for selling players like Fabregas and Van Persie.
The team may still settle. One hopes that with Wenger's experience and expertise they will. But one cannot also help thinking even that at this early stage in the season, that this will not happen, and that Arsenal once again will emerge trophyless, and even worse, not even within the top four.
What can Arsenal do to turn it around?