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Watford captain Troy Deeney has caused quite the stir in the wake of his comments about Arsenal.
As he often does, Deeney spoke his mind when asked about the Gunners’ performance at Vicarage Road on Saturday that saw them squander a lead to lose 2-1.
“I've heard [Arsene] Wenger's already blaming [the penalty] as the reason for why they lost,” Deeney told BT Sport.
“Well, I'm not going to be one to tell Mr Wenger about himself, but there's a reason that they lost and it wasn't because of one penalty. I have to watch what I say, but it's a bit of cojones, is what I'll say.
“Whenever I play against Arsenal, I'll go up and think: ‘Let me whack the first one and see who wants it.'
“I came on today and jumped up with [Per] Mertesacker. I didn't even have to jump, actually. I nodded it down, the crowd gets up: ‘Yeah we've got somebody who can win it,' and they all just backed off.
“For me as a player, I just think happy days. That's my strength. If you're going to let me do my strength against you, you're going to have a tough afternoon.
“I just think personally there's an element of that being an equaliser for me. I know I'm not technically gifted like they are, not as quick, but if you want to fight with me; I'm going to beat you all day.”
For some, Deeney’s comments were a step too far. It has been argued he should not be so forthright when giving his opinion on fellow professionals.
Indeed the striker went on to call Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil “naïve” and “nonchalant” for missing a great chance in the second-half.
However, the worst thing about Deeney’s comments is that they are painfully true for Arsenal fans.
In reality, the Watford captain should be praised and not criticised for saying what he did. So often fans and the media moan that players do not speak their mind. But when they do, as in this case, they are vilified for it.
Deeney was just pointing out what many people have been saying about Arsenal for years. They are soft and lack leadership.
The Ozil miss, as pointed out by Deeney, is a prime example. The fact the German blew such a great chance is understandable, these things can happen. But what isn’t acceptable was the reaction after.
There was seemingly no accountability. None of the Arsenal players called Ozil up on the miss. Instead, there was a metaphorical shrug of the shoulders as the game drifted on as if nothing had happened.
Can you imagine that happening in the Arsenal teams of old? Can you imagine the likes of Tony Adams or Patrick Vieira simply letting that pass them by?
Never. The person who missed the chance would be pulled up on it and urged to make amends which, back then, they usually did.
Moments like that highlight this feeling of a lack of on-field leadership when it comes to Arsenal. Wenger has spoken about how Mertesacker is great captain off the pitch, but what about on it?
The German started on Saturday against Watford in what was incredibly the first time since November 2014 that an Arsenal club captain has started a league game. That is over 100 matches where the team’s appointed skipper has not led them out.
Some will argue against that significance but just look back at all the great teams in recent years. All of them have had ever-present captains and leaders.
The Gunners have not had that for years and it painfully shows when watching them today. Every team needs that leader on the pitch, that player who sets the standard for the whole side.
Head to the Emirates and you will see examples of those types of individuals from Arsenal’s past immortalised in statues. The worrying fact is, though, none of the present squad come close to replicating those characteristics.