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Man Utd legend Nemanja Vidic slams Arsenal defence

Posted By: Aveek Chakraborty
Former Manchester United defender Nemanja Matic

Bengaluru, April 17: Nemanja Vidic has criticized Arsenal for their lack of composure and communication at the back after they suffered their eleventh the Premier League defeat this season against Newcastle.

Arsenal who are yet to win an away game in the Premier League succumbed to a 2-1 away defeat in the weekend against Rafa Benitez's Newcastle despite scoring first. Arsene Wenger's men have not won on the road since the 3-2 win over Crystal Palace on 28th December.

The North London side have now conceded an astonishing 45 goals this season, 16 more than seventh-placed Burnley, who are two points behind them in the league, and only one fewer than 17th-placed Swansea City.

And Vidic who was a pillar in the Manchester United's defence during his playing days was critical about Arsenal’s defence, citing problems with “communication” and “organisation”.

"I think there is a lack of communication, they are watching the ball and not reacting. There are six players against three and there is no communication about who is going to go and attack the ball, who is going to cover," he said on Super Sunday.

"It seems like in this situation, it is definitely organisation, and I can't say a lack of desire because I saw them in the first 20 minutes and they were really attacking and aggressive.

"I think communication is the key. Everyone is watching what the other player is going to do, no one is saying 'you attack, I'll go behind'.

"I did that my whole career with Rio , Patrice and players I played with, we always had a communication between us. It's wasn't just us waiting to see what was going to happen, we communicated all the time throughout the game.

The former Serbian international also stated that Arsenal are lucky to be sixth and unless they improve their defensive problems, they will not challenge for the title anytime soon.

"They have to defend. For me, when Arsenal get to pre-season, they don't have to think about scoring goals, they need to think about keeping a clean sheet because that is what they have to learn - to defend.

"That's the key if they want to challenge for the title because I think in the end, they will score 70 goals a season but they will concede 40. For a team who is in the top seven who concede that many goals, I think they are doing well to be in that position."

Vidic also launched a scathing attack on Gunners centre-half Shkodran Mustafi. The German defender was at fault for the first goal, when he initially missed Dwight Gayle's run after Jonjo Shelvey's long pass and then failed to react to Ayoze Perez who converted DeAndre Yedlin's cross.

Vidic suggested the former Valencia defender has to improve his game and the player could even learn a thing or two from youngster Calum Chambers.

"Great movement (from Gayle) and a great ball by Shelvey," said Vidic, "but look at these two players - Mustafi and Chambers - and their different approaches to the situation.

"He is looking around him, Mustafi is facing just the ball.

"If you're a defender you cannot allow yourself to do that.

"You have to be on your toes and you have to be sideways. In that case, you can run in all directions and you can see what is coming.

"You have to twist your body, look lively. In this situation, you just have to react.

"He's just looking at the ball, he doesn't know what's going on around him."

Arsenal are likely to miss a UCL spot next season as they sit sixth in the table, 13 points adrift Spurs with only five games to play. But they can secure the UCL birth by winning the Europa league where they face a tough test against Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals next week.

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    Story first published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 13:52 [IST]
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