Unai Emery faces “the same problems as Arsene Wenger had”, claims Emmanuel Petit, with no progress having been made at Arsenal as the club refuses to embrace “revolution”.
After 22 years working under the guidance of an iconic French coach, the Gunners decided to open a new chapter in the summer of 2018.
Emery was handed the reins and charged with the task of delivering a top-four finish and rebuilding collective confidence in north London.
He has, however, seen his hands tied in the transfer market – with only loan deals available to him in January – and Petit believes Arsenal continue to stagnate, rather than evolve.
The former midfielder, who tasted Premier League title success during his time with the Gunners, told the Mirror: “It’s like Wenger is out but I have the feeling that it’s the same old story.
“What’s happening after Arsene Wenger’s era, I think we were expecting more from the club. I am disappointed.
“You are telling me that Emery has the same problems that Wenger had. Nothing has changed. So why did they sack Arsene?
“If you sack the manager, you need to start a revolution. But I ask the question: Why did they sack Arsene? If someone can give me the answer then I’ll be very happy.
“If you don’t give the control to Emery, allow him to oversee a revolution, give him the power to bring in new players to help him change the style on the pitch, then why create all of this mess?
“This team is not good enough to fight for the title. This team is strong enough to fight for third or fourth place and that’s it. They’ve been like that for years and years. You don’t have to be a magician to understand that.
“I was thinking, ‘OK, you sacked Arsene Wenger for good reasons’. But then I was expecting a revolution at the club. But it’s not happened.
“You sack Arsene but then you have to give the power to Emery to change things. But, honestly, nothing has happened. It’s just the same now as it ever was.
“I don’t see many changes in terms of how the team plays since Wenger left. I’m still confident with Emery, he’s a talented manager, but he needs to pick his own players as well. For sure, Arsenal needs to change the squad.”
Petit feels the Gunners currently lack “the characters” required to compete with ambitious rivals, with the Frenchman adding: “I watched the last game with West Ham and I was thinking, ‘How can you put Ramsey on the bench and leave Ozil at home, knowing that you have no creative midfielders?’
“Everything is on the shoulders of [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette to score goals. And for a club like Arsenal, that’s not good enough.
“It’s about having the characters in the team. Look at Liverpool, the personality of the team, the desire, the anger. When I look at the characters like [James] Milner, [Jordan] Henderson, [Virgil] van Dijk. When I look at [Trent] Alexander-Arnold, [Andy] Robertson. They fight for the ball every time.
“That’s what you need if you want to compete at the highest level. If you look at the big clubs, even Barcelona, it’s all about desire. When you don’t have the ball, it’s about the desire to get it back. It’s really that simple.”