Arsenal on for bottom-half Premier League finish unless players follow example of legend Rocastle, says Julian Dicks

ARSENAL are going to finish in the bottom half of the Premier League table unless they learn from the legendary David Rocastle.

That is according to former West Ham defender Julian Dicks, who insists that the Gunners' current crop lacks character and work ethic as showed by the disastrous start to their Premier League campaign.

The north Londoners have lost all three of their first games in the top flight and conceded nine times without scoring once, in what marks their worst start to a season since 1954.

Dicks named Rocastle as the perfect example those players should look up to because he never gave up and always remained focused on the pitch back when he played for the north Londoners.

The legendary midfielder spent seven years at Arsenal after his debut in 1985 and went on to amass a total of 11 goals and three assists in 91 appearances across all competitions.

The ex-Liverpool player insists Mikel Arteta's men need to adopt Rocky's principles very quickly or they are in danger of an even worse finish than last season when they missed out on Europe for the first time in 25 years.

Dicks, speaking exclusively to Ladbrokes at its launch of the 5-A-Side Bet on Southampton v West Ham, said: "Arsenal are a big club, and I was lucky enough to play at Highbury – but they're a completely different team these days.

"I look at them, and they just don't work hard enough. Yeah, they have some good players, but you have to work hard.

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"You watch the Tottenham v Man City game, and both teams worked their socks off for the whole game. Both sets of players went all out in that game, and then I look at Arsenal and they don't work anywhere near as hard.

"As soon as they cross that line, it's down to the players. The manager can put his team out and shout his instructions, but he needs his team to play ball and work hard, and for me they don't.

"It's about making the right decisions at the right time, and being aggressive. I'm not talking about going around and kicking people; I mean winning your headers, winning your tackles, your second balls and your knock downs. For me, Arsenal don't do that enough.

"Arsenal are a big, big club. When Arsene Wenger was there, they were doing it. They were always in the top four or five, and they always had players that would work hard. You've got one or two there at the moment, maybe, who really put the effort in. But you can't build success on that.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH

"Unless they improve significantly, they'll finish this season in the bottom half. It's as simple as that. They need to recruit in the right places; you know, you'd like Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Steve Bould. You'd die to have those players at the club now in defence, because they very rarely conceded goals.

"They were so disciplined in doing what they needed to do. But now you've got the left-back attacking, the right-back up the other end of the pitch trying to score goals, and then when it breaks down, they don't get back quick enough.

"Look at Man City for example they're the best team in the Premier League right now. Their players work their nuts off. If there was any club you could probably excuse for not working hard it's them, because they've already won the title. But they're hungry for more success, and so they don't stop. I don't see that with Arsenal.

"I was lucky enough to have played against David Rocastle, god bless him, who was an honest player. He wasn't exceptionally quick, but he was a very good player, and if I ever went on the overlap, he'd be following me. He never gave me a minute of peace. He wouldn't just stand there and leave me; he'd be following me.

"Do the Arsenal forwards really bust a gut like that now? No. Times have changed at Arsenal, but the principles should still be the same; you have to work hard, and if you're not doing that, you're not good enough.

"Fans aren't going to put up with it for much longer, and at the end of the day, fans make or break you as a manager. They have done for many years. I can't see Mikel Arteta being in charge for much longer, to be honest with you, if things don't improve drastically."

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