By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Arsenal’s players, including headline summer signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla, are losing faith with the methods of manager Arsene Wenger, Goal.com has learned.
They are increasingly baffled by Wenger’s tactics, selection and failure to adequately replace Robin van Persie in the summer.
Podolski and Cazorla are believed to be among the Gunners stars left dumbstruck by the events on Tuesday night, when a full-strength Arsenal team were knocked out of the Capital One Cup by League Two minnows Bradford City.
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Wenger is believed to have torn into his players in the dressing room at half-time but was staggered by the lack of response from the team, who slumped out of the competition in a penalty shoot-out.
Even though Wenger said after the match that he could not fault the attitude of his players - "we did absolutely everything for 120 minutes" - his main complaint was their lack of focus.
The Frenchman is under pressure from a growing band of supporters calling for his head but Arsenal insiders insist that the manager is in no danger of losing his job.
Nevertheless, some of the unrest in the stands is matched in the dressing room, as players privately question some of Wenger’s decision-making.
Podolski is fed up at being played out of position on the left flank, often at the expense of Gervinho, who had never been played as the team’s spearhead until this season but has been regularly deputising up front for Olivier Giroud.
The Germany international has played all 20 of his Arsenal matches in a wide attacking role rather than in the central position that he favours.
Aaron Ramsey has often been used on the right side of Arsenal’s attack in key games to compensate for the lack of midfield power, a problem the players feel should have been addressed in the transfer window.
Cazorla is one of those said to be mystified by the failure to adequately replace Van Persie, who was sold to Manchester United days before the start of the new season.
Gervinho has come under fire from supporters, including former board member Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith, who labelled the Ivorian a “flop player” on Twitter during Tuesday’s defeat, an attitude that is shared by some in the dressing room.
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis assured the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust on Wednesday night that significant funds are available to the manager, and there will now be huge pressure on Wenger to land his main targets and arrest the club’s decline.