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Arsene Wenger being let down by players, says Nigel Winterburn

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29:  David Ospina of Arsenal during the match between Arsenal and Olympiacos on September 29, 2015 in London,
Image: Hector Bellerin (L), David Ospina (C) and Alexis Sanchez look dejected during Arsenal's defeat to Olympiakos

Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn believes that Arsene Wenger's side are letting him down after the boss came under major scrutiny in his press conference on Friday.

Wenger reacted angrily to questions about his team selection after his decision to leave Petr Cech out in midweek backfired when replacement goalkeeper David Ospina made a major error in their 3-2 defeat at home to Olympiakos. 

And Winterburn, who played under the Frenchman at Arsenal, had his say on his former boss on Sky Sports News HQ ahead of Manchester United's visit to the Emirates on Sunday.

What did you make of Wenger in that press conference?

NW: I think he's very, very agitated and feeling the pressure. He's very frustrated with his team because he's looked at the way they finished last season and believes he's got a team that can challenge for the title, but they're letting him down at the moment.

Arsene Wenger says the Arsenal squad has enough attacking options to cope with Danny Welbeck's absence
Image: Arsene Wenger came in for severe criticism after their midweek defeat

Should Cech have played against Olympiakos?

NW: I think defenders like to go with their best goalkeeper behind them, which for me would have been David Seaman. There were rumours coming out that Cech had a slight injury and David Ospina was put in goal.

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If you looked at it on what Ospina produced last season it shouldn't have been a problem. The debate should have been why are Arsenal being so inconsistent this season, but because he put a goalkeeper in who dropped the ball and costs them a goal everyone is asking why he didn't go with Cech. 

The same question wasn't asked after the first game when Cech made two mistakes against West Ham, so you can see Wenger feels he's being questioned about his decisions when the question should be what is he trying to do to get the performances from last season.

Petr Cech of Arsenal applauds the fans after defeat during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium
Image: Petr Cech is set to be recalled after being left on the bench in midweek

Is Wenger accountable?

NW: He will be eventually. I played under Wenger and I love the way he manages and protects the players, but he also knows that he gives them a lot of freedom and they've got to deliver for him. 

I believe if they'd lost the FA Cup final against Hull in 2014 he would have walked away from the club because the swell of opinion against him would have been too strong.

Wenger is someone who still goes out first thing in the morning on the training pitch and takes immense pride in the way his team plays. If his team are letting him down then don't anyone tell me he doesn't take it personally.

He has got very agitated because he feels that at the moment his team are not consistent enough. They are letting him down defensively, and when they don't let him down defensively they're not creative enough (in attack). 

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger reacts on the touchline during the UEFA Champions League Group F
Image: Wenger looks frustrated on the touchline during Arsenal's defeat to Olympiakos

Should he be accountable to the fans?

NW: At the end of it Wenger will be accountable to the fans because if the (atmosphere at the Emirates) becomes so anti-Wenger then the board will have to look at it. 

The problem is everyone can see they've only signed Cech (last summer), and if they'd signed him and had a really strong start there wouldn't have been any questions. The questions have come because Arsenal's form has been nowhere near where it was from the end of last season.

The fans want to challenge for the title, which means you are either leading the league or coming into April three or four points off the leaders. I think Wenger believes he's got the team to do it, but they aren't producing for him at the moment.

Arsene Wenger has urged Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to learn from Alexis Sanchez
Image: Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (R) celebrate as Arsenal beat Leicester 5-2 last Saturday

Why is their record against United at the Emirates so poor? 

NW: You are playing against a team in United that's been very dominant in terms of Premier League success, and top teams go to the opposition with no fear and believe they can win anywhere.

When we went to Manchester United we believed we could beat them as well. Top teams know that it's about making sure they produce their best, because when two big teams go head to head it's about the best performance on the day.

Anthony Martial with Juan Mata
Image: Juan Mata and Anthony Martial have helped steer Manchester United to the top of the Premier League

What do Arsenal lack at the moment?

NW: I think one of Arsenal's problems is that they don't have a natural leader on the pitch who can keep them together. Sometimes someone in that Arsenal team needs to say: "Do you know what, I am going to take responsibility for this team when it's out on the pitch and I am going to direct the players and make those decisions."

It should be that each individual section of the team is doing that but, if not, one player has to stand up and be accountable.

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Francis Coquelin picked up the injury against Chelsea
Image: Francis Coquelin picked up the injury against Chelsea

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