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William Gallas has heavily criticised Mikel Arteta’s management of Arsenal and believes he has lost the support of the club’s senior players, suggesting the Gunners should ditch the Spaniard and hire Patrick Vieira instead.
The north London club are enduring a miserable run of form and sit in 15th place in the Premier League table, closer to the relegation zone than the Champions League places after their worst ever start to a campaign.
Pressure is mounting on Arteta and former Arsenal captain Gallas has little doubt that he is out of his depth, with the Frenchman keen to see club legend Vieira – who was recently sacked by Nice – installed as Arteta’s replacement.
‘What’s going on at Arsenal? It’s a question I think everybody has asked this season. I don’t know the answer. I think maybe the issue at the moment is that Mikel Arteta is not the right manager,’ Gallas told Ladbrokes.
‘For me he doesn’t have that experience to manage a big club. I was surprised when he came in, to be honest – even as Pep Guardiola’s assistant – you need experience as a manager to come in to a club like Arsenal.
‘You need to know how to manage 24 players. All the pressure is on your shoulders and you make all the decisions. Some players will be upset that they aren’t playing and it’s something you need experience in dealing with.
‘If you’re managing a side and the players you’re starting don’t perform well, the players who are on the bench will be upset. After a few games the players who aren’t playing will end up being frustrated.
‘And maybe those players don’t respect the manager anymore. Especially if that manager doesn’t have experience. If it was Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho or Arsene Wenger, you will respect their decision because they’ve all done something in the past. But Arteta hasn’t.
‘If I was a player at Arsenal now, I think it all depends on whether you’re a young player or a more experienced name. The young players will respect Arteta, but the players who have more experience, maybe not.
‘The players who aren’t getting into the team will be saying to themselves, “OK, I’m on the bench, we haven’t been getting good results; what’s going on? Why am I not playing?” and it will start from there.
‘When they chose Mikel Arteta to come in and replace Unai Emery, in my mind Patrick Vieira was the name I thought they should have gone for. I don’t know how close he was or if he was in the running at all, but I was surprised they didn’t even mention his name.
‘Patrick has more experience than Mikel, because he’s managed in America and he spent time at Nice. So when the Arsenal board decided to pick a new manager I thought Patrick would get the call.
‘He was captain of Arsenal and he knows the club very well. Patrick was the right guy then. If they have to sack Mikel Arteta, they have to choose Patrick Vieira to replace him, and I’m sure all the fans would love it.’