Graeme Souness has delivered the most withering of assessments on “vulnerable”, “weak” and “insipid” Arsenal.
The Gunners were defeated 3-2 by a relatively inexperienced Manchester United side on Sunday, leaving their Premier League title hopes in doubt.
Arsene Wenger’s side now sit five points behind leaders Leicester, three points behind Tottenham, and four in front of Manchester City, who have a game in hand.
Marcus Rashford scored twice on his debut at Old Trafford, and Ander Herrera added a third to cancel out goals from Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil.
Wenger defended his side after the match, claiming he could not fault them, but Souness, speaking to Sky Sports, was angered by the display.
“Manchester United deserved to win the game,” Souness said. “They were better at the front and the back – the areas that matter.
“It was tippy-tappy football from Arsenal – they had 60 per cent of possession but were going nowhere.
“Arsenal today bordered on being a joke for me.
“You turn up here, you’re playing a Manchester United side struggling with injuries, introducing young players, low on confidence and you’re thinking it’s tailored-made for a proper team to come here and do a number on an under-strength Man Utd and they didn’t.
“This is an Arsenal team you were saying a month ago was a real team. They’ve got to play Tottenham, Barcelona – by March 16 they could be out of all competitions. Arsene Wenger must be tearing his hair out.
“This Arsenal team just doesn’t have ‘it’ – and I’ll stand on my head if they prove me wrong and go and win this league. That today was totally unacceptable.
“Is it a case of big players going off the boil? Big players make other players play when things are going badly. Who did that today for Arsenal? Where’s a Tony Adams? Where’s a Thierry?
“It worries me that Arsene continually talks about his team being mentally tough – it’s almost as if he’s trying to persuade them. They’re vulnerable. They don’t look like a confident group.
“They had a chance to put down a real marker today and they’ve been so weak, so insipid. If I were an Arsenal supporter I’d be so angry right now. There’s so much about Arsenal to like but – in equal measure – so much to dislike.”