Gary Neville has told Mikel Arteta that while he has improved his side’s defence, the current squad will only take him so far.
Arsenal have been under the spotlight since the loss to Manchester City last week, and David Luiz has particularly been under scrutiny.
The Brazilian has been under fire since that dreadful performance which single-handedly handed the result to Manchester City, not that without his involvement we would have steered our side to an alternative result.
The fact of the matter is that he had one of the worst showings in his career, and was only on the pitch for 25 minutes.
Gary Neville claims that whilst Mikel Arteta has improved his side’s defence, while he has players like Luiz in the team he will always struggle.
He told his Sky Sports Podcast: ‘We’ve all said it. Mikel Arteta – we should still say that the shape Arsenal are playing, the shape they have defensively I think is better than it was previously but the individuals within that will let you down.
‘It doesn’t matter how well you coach the shape, if you get exposed one on one or defenders make mistakes – as we saw in that game against Manchester City and against Brighton – then you’re just going to get punished.
‘They just need defenders with better concentration. Jamie (Carragher) mentioned about Dejan Lovren being emotional.
‘Sir Alex Ferguson – there were elements of me that were emotional sometimes as a player and he would knock it right out of me. He said “I hate emotional defenders.” He wants his defenders to be ice cold.’
The former United defender went onto claim that mistakes were inevitable, but it is the reaction to getting it wrong that is the telling factor.
Neville added: ‘You are going to make mistakes as a goalkeeper and a defender, but then it’s that second mistake. It’s that one where you try and win it back and you give that penalty away. It’s where you try and win it and you can’t win it.
‘It’s about just dropping your ego sometimes as a defender and delaying helps because your team-mates sometimes come back. You get too many defenders who try to win the first ball, who try and dive in, and we’ve seen that with Arsenal’s defenders over the years.
‘David Luiz, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, when he plays. They dive in, they like to challenge when it is not there to challenge.
‘They feel they have to win the ball and sometimes it’s not there to win.’
Who is Arsenal’s best defender at the club? Do we have a decent enough partner for William Saliba for next season?