Arsenal retain the ability to “score four goals in 10 minutes”, says Gael Clichy, but they also “concede goals for fun” and have not fully addressed issues that first surfaced during Arsene Wenger’s reign.
The Gunners have become famed for their ball-playing principles and penchant for attacking football.
Former boss Wenger was the man to draw up that sporting blueprint over the course of an iconic 22-year spell calling the shots in north London.
The Frenchman delivered three Premier League titles at the peak of his powers, including the fabled ‘Invincibles’ season, but saw his powers start to wane before moving on in 2018.
Defensive leaks became a problem for the Gunners, with too much emphasis placed on creativity and attacking threat.
Those qualities have helped to keep Arsenal competitive, but even today they are considered to have a soft centre that can hold them back at times.
Former France international Clichy, who spent eight years with the Gunners between 2003 and 2011, told Premier League Productions: “Even today’s team they have that quality to score four goals in 10 minutes.
“Don’t ask me why Arsenal have always been able to do this but they can also even today concede goals for fun.”
Clichy experienced plenty of examples of that during his own time at Arsenal, with one game in particular standing out above the rest.
Wenger’s side were title challengers in 2010-11, but an infamous trip to Newcastle in the February of that campaign saw them surrender a four-goal lead and eventually miss out on another crown.
Clichy said of that visit to St James’ Park: “This was typical Arsenal.
“We could go anywhere and play anyone off the park then all of a sudden we could crumble in just a few minutes.
“We were young, we had plenty of talent but people were talking about what we were missing and maybe that was a bit of experience.
“We were an amazing team but we lacked character, if you want.
“Even with a lead of three goals, we could feel the fans pushing and after the second goal I could feel that it was going to be difficult [to win].”