Frank Lampard says Arsenal are at ‘tipping point’

Chelsea and Arsenal both suffered one-goal away defeats on Sunday afternoon, which means that the gap between them in the Premier League table remains at eight points.

Both sides are enduring a poor spell which has seen their respective managers come under pressure but it is only the Blues who are within touching distance of the top four.

The current plight of the two sides is a far cry from the battles Chelsea legend Frank Lampard used to have with the Gunners.

Both sides were competing for the title throughout the 2000s, before the Blues’ superior physicality and ruthlessness saw them race away from the Gunners in terms of being in contention for the top prizes.

That malaise at the Emirates has lingered, even since Lampard’s retirement and following a run of four straight defeats, the rumblings have never been louder in opposition of Wenger.

The former Chelsea and West Ham man has used his Evening Standard column to give his view on where Arsenal are at and how they can proceed. Lampard wrote:

“When things go toxic like it is among the fans now, it is a massive distraction for the players. I have always advocated that players should be able to play regardless, but when it becomes so toxic, then it is a problem.

“It’s gone beyond the norm now at Arsenal. It has been on a knife-edge for the last few seasons, where it took two or three bad results and the fans were willing to turn.

“But now we have got to the tipping point — and that makes for a difficult environment for the team to play in.

“There will be lads in there struggling for confidence and when you’re playing in a negative atmosphere created by your own fans, it makes it twice as hard.

“The only thing they can do is show character and try to dig themselves out of this hole.”

Arsenal’s players have to take responsibility as it is hard to shake the feeling that a lot of their players are happy to plod along, making the same mistakes because they know it is their manager who will get the bulk of the criticism.

In the short term, Thursday’s match against Milan is massive because their only remaining plausible route into next season’s Champions League is by winning the Europa League.

However, even a good performance in the San Siro would only be a short-term sticking plaster over a deep, deep issue that will only really move towards its resolution when Wenger is sacked or leaves the club.