Arsenal's stars are still raving about Mikel Arteta but what’s the point if they are still not doing their jobs?

John Fleck’s late goal was the third time in four games the Gunners have clocked off early to throw away the lead. Chelsea did them at home three minutes before the end over the festive period.

Last week Crystal Palace pegged them back after Pierre-Emerick ­Aubameyang scored early and looked as though he’d open the floodgates.

Unai Emery might have had his faults but he is long gone and the Arsenal players are still making the basic mistakes, at both ends of the pitch, that cost him his job.

Will they be as gushing once ­Arteta starts holding them ­accountable for their errors and ­replaces them with his own men?

Mikel Arteta looks to be running out of patience
Mikel Arteta looks to be running out of patience

Arteta looked like a man running out of patience as he had to explain, yet again, why his players blew it in a game they should have won. Was it a lack of concentration?

“On this occasion I don’t think it was,” he said. “Against Palace I think it was. We switched off on a free-kick and paid the price.

“Here it’s a second ball. You have to put a header into the wide areas, not centrally. Then someone scores from it.”

So is there a lack of ­leadership then?

“I think it’s game-management.” Arteta admitted. “We can talk about the things that ­happened prior to that situation that can be avoidable.

“But there are 100 million ­decisions to make in one match and 11 players or 22 players making them at 180 beats per minute.”

Arsenal blew it again after letting their lead slip against Sheffield United
Arsenal blew it again after letting their lead slip against Sheffield United

It is that ability to make high-class, split-second decisions that should mark a player out at being good enough to play for any top club, let alone Arsenal.

Concentration, too, is an issue. Regardless of what Arteta says. ­Arsenal have been held to score draws by Norwich, Bournemouth and both Watford and Southampton.

They’ve also lost to Brighton and were beaten by Sheffield United away from home. They switch off at crucial moments. They are not ­mentally strong enough as a unit.

It is embarrassing that such an ­expensively-assembled squad has managed back-to-back Premier League wins just once this season, back in August.

Lacazette hasn't scored for Arsenal in his last seven matches
Lacazette hasn't scored for Arsenal in his last seven matches

Arsenal’s players can hammer Emery, with some justification, all they want. But they’d be better off taking a long hard look at ­themselves.

It isn’t just a personnel issue, it’s psychological. As a team they are not mentally strong enough to deliver what Arteta wants from them.

It is remarkable that for all their resources Aubameyang, with his nine goals on the road, has scored 75 percent of Arsenal’s away goals.

Why aren’t more of their players taking responsibility?

Alexandre Lacazette hasn’t scored in seven games. Rising star Gabriel Martinelli’s opener on half-time was his ninth in 20 games this season.

Martinelli scored again but he can't shoulder the burden entirely
Martinelli scored again but he can't shoulder the burden entirely

Before you get carried away, ­however, the strike was the 19-year-old’s second in 13.

He is too young to shoulder a ­burden that should be carried by his more senior team-mates.

As it is, Arteta heads to Chelsea tomorrow night well aware that without Aubameyang his side will be playing with one hand tied behind their backs.

Read More

Mirror Football's Top Stories

“It’s a lot harder,” he said. “When you lose a player of his stature, you’re always concerned because he gives you something.

“There is only one player in the Premier League more important to his team and that’s Jamie Vardy.

“But it doesn’t matter how sad we are for the next two games. We need other players and against Sheffield United some of them showed that they are capable of doing it as well.”