Patrice Evra has angered Arsenal skipper Granit Xhaka by addressing the team’s mentality once again following their latest away-day failure.
The Gunners were beaten 1-0 last night by newly promoted Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Unai Emery’s side have now dropped out of the top four and lost to the Blades despite having more than two weeks to prepare for the fixture.
Arsenal’s away form has continued to pose a huge problem, with all bar one of their Premier League victories this term coming at the Emirates Stadium.
A 1-0 win at Newcastle on the opening weekend of the new season has been the fifth-placed Gunners’ only scalp on the road.
Defeats at Liverpool and Sheffield United have been accompanied by draws away to bottom side Watford and out-of-form rivals Manchester United.
Last season, Arsenal’s form away from home cost them Champions League qualification as they lost eight times in the top flight while winning on just seven occasions.
Xhaka in particular has come in for hefty criticism for his performances in midfield, and Emery’s decision to hand him the captain’s armband this season left many fans bewildered.
Arsenal’s frailties have not disappeared since Arsene Wenger’s departure, and Evra said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football how he was not left surprised by the Sheffield United result.
The Red Devils legend even revealed: “I used to call them my babies years ago when I played against them and I still look at them like they are babies and that’s the truth.
“I’m not being disrespectful when I say that. When I played against Arsenal I was so happy because I knew I was going to win.
“(Against Sheffield United) I was like ‘where is (Arsene) Wenger?’ Because it’s the same.”
Xhaka was asked about Evra’s comments last night after the game and was clearly irked by the slurs.
“We have to stop speaking about mental [issues] or bullshit like this,” Xhaka said. “For me it’s the same if you play home or away. You have to win.
“You have to show big character. You have to show good games and not find always the same excuse.”
Addressing Evra’s criticisms in particular, Xhaka added: “A lot of people speak too much. I hear that the first time he speaks something against us.
“I have a lot of respect for him, he was a great player. But you have to be careful what you say.
“It’s not only him it’s a lot of people. They speak a lot of bullshit about us. It’s always the same.
“For me it’s strange. They were in the same situation as us, they were players as well.
“Maybe sometimes it was good, sometimes it was not so good. If you speak every weekend, every game, bullshit they speak, they don’t get respect about what they say.
“I tell you the honest [truth]. I’m not interested in what people say and speak. We have to speak in our group to improve things and work hard.”
Arsenal’s next chance to respond to the Blades defeat comes on Thursday in the Europa League when they host Portuguese side Vitoria (8pm) before Crystal Palace visit the Emirates in the Premier League on Sunday (4.30pm).