A year or so ago I would have agreed with what Gary Neville has said about Arsenal and our recent struggles to get results in the big games against our Premier League rivals. Even now when you look at the stats it tells a grim story for the Gunners, but I contest his claim that we do not approach these games in the right way.
In a Sky Sports report the former Manchester United and England defender and current TV pundit accused Arsene Wenger and the players of being too arrogant or naive to change the tactics when facing the likes of Man City, Chelsea and Man United.
He said, “[Arsenal] don’t prepare for a big game like it’s a big game. I used the words arrogance and naivety earlier in the season.
“They prepare for a big game like they’re going out to play a game of football in the park.
“What about attention to detail? What about respecting your opposition whereby you might have to change something yourself? i think they go out thinking about wonderful passing, how they’re going to nutmeg someone or score a great goal.
“I never see anything different with Arsenal. It’s a wonderfully pure theory around football; it’s fantastic morals and principles but if it doesn’t work you have to challenge it.
“The week that they’ve had, losing in Europe, puts a little bit more pressure on them being at home.”
Really Gary? How about the way Wenger did go to a plan B last season and got a great away win over Man City? It was true that we used to be too attack minded in these games but the manager finally reacted to that and put it right. Man United may have won at the Emirates last season but they were extremely lucky not to lose, never mind win.
This season we lost away to Chelsea but until Mike Dean stepped in we were playing defensively and were heading in to the break on level terms. So it is another piece of lazy punditry to hark back to the bad old days of two seasons ago.
Let´s just hope that he is forced to admit he was wrong after Arsenal beat his former club tomorrow.