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Ince: Arsenal are too nice

Former Manchester United and Liverpool midfielder Paul Ince has blasted Arsenal, claiming they are “too nice” under Unai Emery

After 26 games, the Gunners are fifth on 50 points, with Chelsea and Man United both challenging them for the fourth and final Champions League position.

Are Arsenal too nice? Five key things to know…

  1. Arsenal have been seen as a team with something of a soft-core since Wenger’s successful teams of the mid-00s.
  2. They have conceded more goals than any team in top eight this season.
  3. A long-time gripe among fans and analysts alike has been Arsenal’s inability to add steel to the midfield, and more recently, quality centre-backs have been needed.
  4. New signing Lucas Torreira however looks to be the tenacious defensive midfielder long-since needed.
  5. Yet Arsenal’s defence has been perceived as weak all season, and they have struggled to exert their authority on away games this term.

Arsenal are fifth, and scraped to a win against relegation fodder Huddersfield at the weekend.

But Ince believes the Gunners are being let down by their lack of aggression, telling reporters: “They’ve always been a nice team.

“When I played against them there was people like [Patrick] Vieira, they were tough, they were aggressive, they were hard to beat.

Arsenal have been a nice team and that’s why they’re okay at home but when they go away it is a completely different mentality and they struggle because I don’t think they’ve got the players to do it away.”

The Gunners have conceded four more goals than Newcastle, who are a place off the relegation zone.

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Arsenal’s defensive fallibility remains from Wenger years

Despite Unai Emery’s renown for setting up his sides in a structured, more solid way than former boss Arsene Wenger did, he still hasn’t been able to right the ship.

After 26 games the Gunners have conceded 37 goals, more than some teams in the bottom half of the table.

Injuries at different times to Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Sokratis Papastathopoulos led to a clamour for new additions in the January transfer window, but a combination of a lack of funds and options led to no one being signed.

A common refrain from analysts and fans alike is that better quality defenders are needed should Arsenal wish to ever challenge at the top end of the table.

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