White praises Arsenal boss Arteta ahead of 'All or Nothing' episodes
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Manchester United icon Gary Neville has raised one key concern regarding Mikel Arteta and his Arsenal side going into the new Premier League season. The Gunners kick off the 2022/23 campaign away to Crystal Palace on Friday evening and will be hoping to break into the top four at the end of the year, having been pipped by north London rivals Tottenham last season.
Arsenal had been leading the race for fourth at the tail end of the season before some disappointing results in the final few games cost them Champions League football. Neville believes that may have happened due to a lack of experience in the squad and manager, and they may have to rely on other teams having poor seasons to secure fourth place this time around.
“I actually hope so [get the people and fans on board with Mikel Arteta], I genuinely do,” Neville said during the Overlap Fan Debate. “I just worry about the experience in terms of young manager.
“To be fair, it’s not unfounded, the evidence is there! Last season, Arsenal should have finished in the top four. But in the end, the experience of Antonio Conte, the experience of the Tottenham Hotspur players [meant they didn’t].
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“In that game, Spurs’ experience on that night it was alarming how naive Arsenal were and how short they were. My concern is just purely around [that]. I know Chelsea and Manchester United are struggling a bit in terms of where they are and they might both blow up, but I think will both have to happen in order for Arsenal to land in the top four.”
Arsenal moved quickly in the transfer window to bolster their squad as they bid to go one step further this season. The Gunners have signed Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Fabio Vieira, Matt Turner and Marquinhos, but Neville believes that their core issue has not been addressed.
“The experience is still not there either off the pitch or on the pitch,” Neville added. “I’ve watched Oleksandr Zinchenko, but he’s not a leader. I love him to bits… but he’s not a leader. Is he going to, in the difficult moments of the season, be able to pull it all together? He might do.
“I like the [transfer] window [Arsenal have had], I like everything you’ve done. Arsenal’s players that were there last season will have been burnt a bit by what happened in terms of falling away at the end [from the top four].
“So, have they got enough experience when they hit that same situation again and they’re under pressure with ten games to go, who is going to get them over the line on the pitch to ensure that they don’t do the same thing again? That moment will come because I think they’ll absolutely be vying for third or fourth. I just think that’s when Arsenal in the past have just [fallen short].”
To access exclusive, unseen content from the Overlap Fan Debate, please visit Sky Bet’s Start of Season Hub
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