Gary Neville is the latest pundit to urge Arsenal to “go back to basics” against Man United

The message was clear after the 2-2 Fulham draw: Mikel Arteta has to make some key tactical switches not to risk his team’s chances of winning the 2023–24 Premier League title.

Most Gooners have called for a return to the original defensive back four of Oleksander Zinchenko, Gabriel, William Saliba, and Ben White. In midfield, there have also been suggestions that Kai Havertz be dropped to accommodate Thomas Partey alongside Declan Rice.

Gary Neville has, in his SkySports podcast, made a bold claim about the upcoming Top Four clash. The United legend predicts that Mikel Arteta will for sure give the fans what they want. He’ll return to a back four and will probably unleash Partey and Rice at midfield, saying, “I would expect next week that Mikel Arteta is going to end that experiment and that he is going to probably go with a solid back four with four defenders, maybe move Partey into midfield along with Rice and maybe Odegaard.”

“Balancing a team is very important. Innovation is fantastic, we love seeing new things, but sometimes something that started as a good idea evolves into something that, to be fair, just doesn’t work.

“I feel there is that with Arsenal. Next week, I’d expect them to go back to something that resembles the team that played last season and get back to those basics of what they are – which is a 4-3-3 team.”

Many Gooners will be delighted to hear Neville’s claims. Suppose Arteta uses the tactical approach (as Neville has predicted) against Manchester United in Arsenal’s next game. In that case, I’m confident the Red Devils will leave the capital with a big L. Ten Hag’s midfield has been fragile, and Arsenal’s having a dominant midfield in that game could be the difference between the two teams.

A win over Manchester United might signal the Gunners’ ambitions for the season.

Darren N

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Tags back four Gary Neville


  1. Arsenal need massive attack than massive defense with back four. Unleash attacking formation with Jesus, Nketiah, Martinelli, and Saka at once and sure we will frustrate Man U defense; we need goals to win, not defending no goals!.

  2. If, as seems might happen, Smith-Rowe goes to Chelsea, I will be apoplectic! Talk about this club becoming a laughing stock, basically swapping a goal scoring midfielder for a lamp post which we bought for twice as much as we will likely sell ESR to Chelsea for 🤬

    1. GB you have nothing except unfounded and false rumours for your plainly ridiculous claim . ESR will be going nowhere. I advise you to THINK for yourself and stop buying into plainly nonsensical rumours.
      If only more fans on here had the ability and desire to THINK for themselves and not to stupidly overreact to clearly false rumours. Sigh!

      1. And you obviously don’t pay any attention to BBC sport or Sky!
        By the way, I didn’t claim anything, I said, if it happens. SIGH !
        Not really sure why I welcomed you back after you were sent to the sin bin.

        1. GB You are again mistaken, as I DO look at Sky Sports BBC and other football sites. But unlike many who then overreact , I choose to think whether or not there is ANY substance to the very many claims and rumours, nearly all of them unfounded in fact or in serous evidence.

          I have the desire and ability to THINK for myself, putting hasty overreaction and juvenile hysteria aside. You will no doubt remember how I constantly decried the relentlessly false rumour- that refused to die, esp on JA, about us wanting Tielemans.

          When it first surfaced, I could plainly see that it was nonsense and said so regularly and was eventually proven right.
          This is how I operate.
          I choose to THINK first and write later. I recommend that to all hysteria driven users of JA.

          This changes nothing in my gratitude to you in kindly welcoming me back to JA. Unlike many I do not hold grudges. They are held only by lesser thinking folk.

          Grudges , in life, as also on JA, harm ONLY the holder of that grudge. That is widely known by mature folk and is a valuable lesson for us all to learn as we get older.

  3. This season I mean this very season will be the last chance for arteta.
    Buying havertz and attempting to sell smith ROWE, Rumour of Gabriel leaving, sending Tierney out when we are light in fullback, selling blogun without at least giving him a try out.
    If arteta ends up messing these season up for the arsenal he should be booted out.
    Eddie Howe would be the logical choice for the job. I like how he manages the players at Newcastle

      1. GB YES I always challenge obviously unthinking juvenile comments that show no personal thought from the writer.

        That includes you, as you have noticed on this thread, which is ENTIRELY WHY you posted this, along with its silly meaningless emoji, instead of having the desire, wit and ability to make out a proper case for your pointless post.

  4. The midfield is where we could lose or win the game.i believe we need both TP and Rice in midfield to deal with Eriksen.. but more importantly the physicality of Casemiro.also,playing TP as a RB against Rashford would be asking for troubles.

    1. Siamois but it seems Arteta is not learning from is mistakes he is too dormant and sturborn like a mule just like former manager Wenger with the way arsenal play’s you might think Unai emery was the best coach in arsenal after Wenger which i think he is with the way he is organising Aston villa with little resources.

  5. I agree with Neville, and think that as soon as Zinchenko is considered fit enough to start a game, then Arteta will revert to the back four we all prefer.
    The midfield could be more of a surprise though.

  6. With Zinchenko back I see an end to TP at RB
    White or Tomi will be RB -Hopefully, it’s White, so Gabriel can return. Versus Manu you’d have to expect a Partey and Rice combo it’s just a pity that so far those two haven’t been played as a double so as to get an understanding going. It’ll be interesting to see how it all pans out because a win here will turn the fans spirits around. I feel our support is getting some bad habits back and I want to see that same support from last season. The support that backed Saliba Vieira and Zinchenko right from the off

  7. I don’t think Zinny will make the game against Manure due to him not being fully fit, and if he does it could be risk, as well as playing Jesus from the start.

    I have this nagging feeling he will persist with this new formation mainly to prove a point and to stick one to GN and all doubters, especially when he says we are perform 10 times better than last season

    Oh, to have Steve Round back, he may have had the secret touch to be able to make MA watch and listen, because he isn’t at the moment.

  8. Here’s a double scenario prediction. Arteta persists on trying to outsmart himself and ends up a loser, dragging all of us down with him.
    It plays itself out this way: The fairy tale, ego manic, defiant “I’ll prove you wrong”, self possessed, magic of Havertz indeed, does not come to the fore. He plays, we lose.
    Arteta brilliance somehow recurs and he selects a conventional, reinforced, time tested team that beat ManU last season and we win.
    The biggest problem facing Arteta, is Arteta. Opposing teams know it’s hard to beat him, but he’ll do it for them.
    Advice: set up a strong Arsenal team. No wishy-washy, never seen before, idealistic, mind blowing, imaginary team. Just Arsenal without Havertz and we’ll beat the next team
    We play. It may just happen to be ManU but that’s really not up to us, too bad for them.

  9. I cant understand why Arteta has to tinker with the line up and formation which was so successful last season. Dont try to fix what aint broken, so the saying goes. Just to accomodate Havertz, Arteta shouldnt compromise on the team winning matches. Go with a back 4 of White, Saliba, Gabriel and Zinchenko. Have a midfield of Partey, Rice and Odegaard. With this formation and personnel we can beat any team in the PL.

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