PETIT FRUSTRATED BY ARSENAL LATE SHOW
Former Arsenal double-winner Emmanuel Petit is overjoyed by the Gunners' blistering return to form - but his delight is tempered with the frustration of yet another trophyless season.
Petit was one of those who continued to back manager Arsene Wenger even after that calamitous four-goal Champions League defeat to AC Milan last month.
Arsenal's response to that setback has been staggering, recording seven Premier League wins on the trot in addition to almost overhauling Milan in an extraordinary second leg at the Emirates Stadium.
It has left Petit with bitter-sweet emotions as he considers what might have been achieved.
"Arsenal received huge criticism after the AC Milan disappointment," said Petit.
"This affected the belief and ego of the players, which is why they came back with such a big hunger to show to everyone they were wrong.
"The performances since then have been magnificent.
"But I am disappointed as well. Why did they have to wait for the criticism to show people what they can do? I am quite frustrated because it proved they can do more."
In theory, Arsenal are primed to fulfil their potential next season.
But, as Petit knows only too well, they have been in this situation far too many times before.
And with Robin van Persie yet to commit his future to the club, the fear is that the summer will bring yet more upheaval.
Speaking at the Soccerex conference in Manchester, Petit said: "It always seems to be the same news. You believe Arsenal will sell their best players every year.
"I understand they don't want to be paying the same transfer fees as some clubs, it is nonsense to pay £40million for a player.
"But betting all your money on a young team? You need experienced players at some point in the season.
"Maybe this team have discovered themselves mentally now but you can't wait for outside help, you have to take your pen and write your own history."
Integral to that will be Wenger and Van Persie staying where they are.
Petit never had any doubts Wenger would stay, in fact he thinks it would be a disaster had his fellow countryman left.
But as for Van Persie, he can only cross his fingers and hope.
"Sacking Wenger would have been the biggest mistake Arsenal could have made," said Petit.
"He is the solution for Arsenal. He just needed to change a few things, then it would come back again.
"Arsene Wenger's contribution to the Premier League is huge. Football has changed so much in England, Arsene has been part of that.
"He is like the stone of Arsenal, if you kick him out you don't know where they will go.
"But I do hope Robin will stay. I would understand it if he left because players like him need titles on their CV.
"Arsenal have to pay the loans back but if you want to fight for titles, you need to find the right mix.
"That is why the criticism of Arsenal this season has been justified and they need to try everything they can to keep him."
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