Perry Groves says Arsenal have two liabilities in squad when they face top teams

Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe are “liabilities” without the ball and cost Arsenal in matches against the Big Six, says former Gunners forward Perry Groves.

Mikel Arteta’s side were beaten for the 12th time this season over the weekend, slumping to a 3-0 defeat at home to Premier League champions Liverpool on Saturday night.

The Reds were dominant in north London, enjoying the lion’s share of possession before making their superiority count with three second-half goals.

Arsenal were outclassed on the night, which will come as a major concern to Arteta in his bid to secure European qualification for next season.

And according to Groves, Ceballos and Pepe are costing his former club in games against top opposition.

The Gunners hero said on talkSPORT: “Ceballos cannot play in the middle of midfield against the top teams, against the top six.

“He’s very good in the Europa League or against the lesser teams. He’s a liability off the ball.

“Pepe is a liability off the ball.”

Arsenal were second best in all departments against Liverpool on Saturday night, recording a measly two shots on target and just 35 per cent possession of the ball.

It was a poor performance for Arteta to mull over, and former Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas believes the team are not buying into his strategy.

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  • “I watched a team today that didn’t believe in the tactics set out by Mikel Arteta, I thought the body language from Arsenal players was poor,” he said.

    “I’m struggling to figure out why you’re playing [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, [Alexandre] Lacazette, [Martin] Odegaard, Pepe – all these attacking players and not actually playing on the front foot.

    “This pretty much summed it up for me, you’ve got Pepe with his hand in his air asking for it to be kicked up the pitch, but who actually wants the ball? You’ve got Odegaard in a good position behind Fabinho, slide that ball forward, get in the pocket, but they didn’t have any urgency to get on the ball or help the person on the ball.

    “I imagine Arsenal fans are sick of this now.”

    READ MORE:Arsenal warned season could end in “disgrace” after serious red flags vs Liverpool

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