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Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton criticises 'spineless' Arsenal team

Joey Barton questions Arsenal's ability to win matches against their top-four rivals and secure trophies.

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton has criticised the current Arsenal team, declaring that they lack "character [and] spine".

The 32-year-old questioned the Gunners' ability to get results against other teams in the top four of the Premier League, and accused manager Arsene Wenger of allowing rival coaches to get "under his skin".

"At the latter stages of a season they come unstuck because of that lack of - I hate to say it - a real lack of character or spine within the team," he told BBC Sport.

Arsenal won the league in 2004, but have secured victory just once in their 20 away matches against teams that have finished in the top five during the last five seasons.

"That record is probably the reason they haven't won a title for years," said Barton.

"Nobody can criticise Wenger on the job he has done to build the infrastructure at that club to a fantastic level. But it's probably been sacrificed at the cost of trophies and challenging at that level."

Arsenal are in Premier League action this Sunday when they take on Chelsea in a crunch London derby.

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