Arsene Wenger says he is “not convinced” by the current crop of Manchester United players and has questioned their ability to emulate the previous era of Old Trafford stars.
The Frenchman, who has been out of work since ending his 22-year reign as Arsenal manager last year, consistently battled with Man United for Premier League titles in the 2000s.
Man Utd’s title challenge already over? Five things to know…
- United are already seven points behind early leaders Liverpool in the Premier League.
- They and Man City dropped only 17 and 16 points between them respectively across the whole of last season.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side dropped 20 points over their last nine league games alone.
- There are question marks over the quality of United possess, particularly in midfield…
- …where £50m signing Fred cannot even make the matchday squad.
In truth, a title challenge was never the expectation Solskjaer would have to meet in 2019/20. Both United and Arsenal fell out of the top four last season, and this term the Red Devils sit eighth after four games having won just once so far.
Wenger believes Solskjaer’s side can already be ruled out of the title race this season as they lack a “collective” way of playing.
“When you see Man United, there is a potential there,” the 69-year-old said.
“They have not found a collective way, maybe because all these players are not mature enough to carry the team-play of a team like Man United all together, which is a question mark now.
“You feel that something is coming out, but it is not ready. When you watch them play they are not candidates to fight for the championship.
“Will they be able to emulate what [Ryan] Giggs, [Paul] Scholes and [David] Beckham did over the years? Personally I am not convinced.”
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“I personally support Chelsea’s Lampard decision”
United will face competition for a top-four spot from Chelsea, who have also endured a mixed start to the campaign under new manager Frank Lampard.
The Blues have beaten Norwich away, lost at Old Trafford and drawn both of their home games so far, but Wenger believes Lampard is the right man for the job.
He added: “It was a bold commitment from Chelsea, I personally support the decision [to hire Lampard].
“He had an experience at Derby, he has learnt the job. He has arrived inside the club, where the expectation level at Chelsea is not so big, the pressure is not so big.
“They cannot buy and they lost one of their big players. That might buy him some time to finish his education, I think he has the potential to be a manager.”