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Manchester United legend Gary Neville has made a disturbing claim about what he’s seeing from this struggling Arsenal.
Talking about his podcastNeville expressed his conviction that the joy seems to have disappeared from these Arsenal players, who seem to have no faith in Mikel Arteta’s tactics or setup.
This would certainly explain why the Gunners have been so bad this season, with results and performances well below what we would expect from this club.
Arteta seemed like a risky date when he came in to replace Unai Emery, and Arsenal surely now need to rethink this decision, as perhaps he is proving that he is too inexperienced or just not good enough for a job of this size.
Neville paints a damning picture of what he’s seeing at Arsenal, and it’s fair to say that he should know a thing or two about situations like this after his experience of playing at the highest level.
“I don’t think they’re relegated, but the fact that we were even discussing it, the fact that we’re looking at where they are in the league is a real problem,” Neville said.
“I think Mikel Arteta has shown that he can coach a team, that he can organize a team, but something is not right.
“It’s hard to put your finger on it, you end up saying, is it the coach? Is it management? Is it recruiting? But the problem is, when you get results like what they are, you end up blaming yourself for everything because it’s probably all true. There is an element that everything goes wrong at the same time.
“The big problem for me is that towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign there was massive criticism of him. People were accusing the club of going stale, of him getting stale, they were getting sick, I guess they just made it to the top four, or they just fell out of the top four, but the football was still pretty good, you still thought when you went to watch Arsenal you would still see good football.
“But [now] soccer is really bad. It’s not good to see them. I saw them a few weeks ago against Leeds and I thought they were turgid.
“Seeing them against Everton is methodical but it is not Arsenal. Because we are used to Arsenal being that free spirit of a team for many, many years and making good combinations, good passes and exchanges. Now it seems very drab.
“If you see this team from Leeds, their players really enjoy how they play and I think Mikel Arteta has to do one thing in the next few weeks. Results may not come, performances may not come, but he has to make the Arsenal players appear to be enjoying themselves. It just doesn’t look like they’re having fun on a soccer field.
“Watching that game against Everton, I saw a team of players who seemed to be working and struggling maybe with the way they were being asked to play or they didn’t believe in the system, or if they thought the other players next to them they were doing it. not good enough, something is not right.
“Red cards, bad discipline, I mean Xhaka… every time he plays he commits 100 fouls, he could be sent off in many more games with the accumulation of free throws he gives away. Pepe’s in Leeds … poor discipline is a problem, but I think he has to look like he’s enjoying his football again.
“I know I didn’t seem like I enjoyed my football because I was always very serious on the pitch, but I always loved playing on this Sir Alex Ferguson team, it was exciting, we used to go forward, we were committed.
“You look at this Leeds team, I don’t care if they lose because they are committed, they love their football, they go for it. You see Burnley for many years playing in a different way, but they have been a committed team. Sheffield United last season was brilliant to see last season, the Wolves… methodical, maybe more rigid, but you can see that the players have accepted it.
“Mikel Arteta has to get those players to accept him again. The idea of going to the field believing that they were not going to win every football game, but that they love football, that enjoyment, that emotion ”.