Nigel Winterburn told Sky Sports News that Arsenal's players have let Arsene Wenger down this season.
Arsenal never looked like being in league contention, says Nigel
Nigel Winterburn told Sky Sports News
that he believes Arsene Wenger has been let down by the Arsenal players this season.
The Gunners are likely to go a seventh year without a trophy as they trail AC Milan 4-0 on aggregate in the Champions League and were knocked out of the FA Cup at the weekend.
Arsenal last won the Premier League in 2004, when Wenger's side finished the season undefeated, since when they have been beaten in the 2006 Champions League final by Barcelona and lost the 2007 and 2011 League Cup finals, to Chelsea and Birmingham respectively.
"People say 'you haven't won a trophy for, this will be, seven years' - that's fine, that is true; but there have been periods throughout those seven years when they have been in positions to win trophies but they just haven't gone through with it," said former Arsenal full-back Winterburn.
"Whether that's because people say 'they are not good enough' or things have gone against them, you can debate that.
"But this season, for me, has been the first season where I've watched it from the start of the season and thought 'actually, they are not going to get anywhere near winning the Barclays Premier League' and the way that they've gone out of the Cup competitions (and it looks barring a miracle that they will go out of the Champions League), the performances just haven't been good enough for an Arsenal team.
"The problem that Arsene Wenger has and this team has is that they are coming from a history over the last 25 years where you've had really strong Arsenal teams that have won trophies, so this team comes under more and more pressure with each year that goes by."
Arsenal have scored 67 times this season in all competitions, with 27 of those goals coming from Robin van Persie - 42 per cent of the total.
The Dutchman's current contract runs out in June 2013 and Winterburn senses that the 28-year-old might be becoming more concerned by Arsenal's lack of silverware.
"I can see at times there has been frustration over the last few weeks," he said. "When you look at Robin van Persie it's as if he's looking and saying 'oh no, not again - we've thrown another game away'.
"I think what Arsene Wenger is do is he'll sit down with Robin van Persie at the end of the season.
"He will want him to sign and he may talk to him about his vision for the football club and possibly say 'I've made a mistake, I've backed the team but it hasn't produced as I expected it to; I'm now going to change it with three or four new players'.
"That will then make us significantly stronger and I believe then we can come back next season and at least challenge for the title again."