Is Man Utd legend right about Arsenal’s ongoing problem?

There has been so much talk about the reason for Arsenal dropping off from that pinnacle point of the Premier League, when Arsene Wenger steered our team of stars to lift the trophy in 2004 without a single mark in the games lost column.

To have failed to win the title since that amazing achievement has certainly been frustrating for us fans and is an issue that merits looking into. There have been various theories and the most common has been the financial aspect of the modern game, with Wenger having his spending restricted at the same time as Chelsea and Man City were pushing the boundaries of spending to breaking point.

But the former Man United and England defender Gary Neville has a different theory. As reported by the Daily Mail, the TV pundit feels that our problems since those heady days have not been caused by the quality of our players as much as by the type of players in our squad.

He said, “I remember when Martin Keown, Tony Adams or Steve Bould would give our forwards a real whack. In a game between Arsenal and Manchester United, you’d expect both sets of defenders to be aggressive.

“Between 1996 and 2001 they were the best encounters because there were no holds barred – everyone was battling and nobody was whinging.

“Then Arsenal changed. In 2003 they became a little more precious – they thought nobody could touch them. They didn’t have players who could stand up for them as much and that’s what we still see today.”

Is this a fair assessment Gooners? I for one do not think so as there are teams like Stoke that are all about the physical aspect of the game and how close have they been to the title? I do believe that we have lacked a bit of steel over the last few years but players that can battle as well as having great ability are hard to come by and therefore the most expensive, so we are back to money.

Also I think Neville is wrong to say that we are still lightweight as the team showed last season that we can mix it as well as play exciting and entertaining football. I guess we will just have to prove him wrong by winni9ng the title this time won’t we?

Tags Neville Wenger


  1. OT

    William Hill are doing a £50m jackpot for predicting the premier league table for 2015/16, why don’t JustArsenal hold a competition like this where the closest match wins a prize? Heck why not even do one for fun.

    1. I will take that bet the EPL table looks like this

      Aston Villa
      Crystal Palace
      Leicester City
      Manchester City
      Manchester United
      Newcastle United
      Norwich City
      Stoke City 0
      Swansea City
      Tottenham Hotspur
      West Bromwich Albion
      West Ham United

      🙂 🙂 🙂

          1. PS I miss the old days on this site when people could have a laugh together. It’s got to serious.

              1. For Sale

                Spurs, The Glory Years’ from most shops, priced £200. That’s £5 for the tape and £195 for the Betamax player.

                1. ??? that is very funny!!
                  Btw sorry to remind you but it’s AFC Bornmouth and they would win the PL

  2. Even though it doesn’t seem heaven sent

    We ain’t ready to see a world class striker yet

  3. We are light weights? Yeah but didnt we finished above his beloved man u last season? Enough said!

    1. I think Gary Neville is quite objective compared to some other pundits out there. As for United, they just lacked quality last season. They became predictable and started losing successive games once other teams caught onto the Fellaini ploy and started dealing with it.

      I’d say our problem was physicality once upon a time. More recently it has been defensive disorganisation and predictable forward play (too much attempted tika-taka nonsense played in front of opposition defences with runs coming too late).

      These days our lighter players like Sanchez and Bellerin are very durable and don’t get put off by physicality. Sanchez gave Ivanovic a pretty rough ride at Stamford Bridge last October as I recall. This is one area in which we’ve improved quietly without making too much noise about it.

      1. Agree for the most part but Chelsea gave all the players a tough time physically, Sanchez was on the receiving end of a few heavy tackles well and Ozil got injured during that match.

  4. No surprise to me, by neville our bitter rivals most of the time always have something negative to say about arsenal! Michael owen our biggest basher!

    1. I think neville is a pretty fair pundit, hes honest and not too biased on monday night football…..hes one of the better football pundits out there unlike david james and michael owen!!

  5. There is some truth there, you have to admit, although, it is changing. Koscielny will put a good challenge in as will Le Coq, not to metion Gabriel who we already saw last season put in a couple cynical, necessary fouls when he had to. Monreal is much tougher in the challenge after his stent as a CB and Wilsher and Ramsey are never afraid to mix it up a bit.

    It’s not the sole reason we haven’t won in the past but it definitely has contributed.

  6. Lets make neville eat his words, by winning the BPL title and finishing above man u! Let us show him “we are arsenal and heavy weights”! Coyg!

  7. We are definitely not lightweight.
    We have hard working players. The best is Alexis. He has a great work ethic and attitude.
    Also Coquelin gives us a bit of steel at the back. A real revelation last season

    I think what we need is a top natural goalscorer that can scare defences. Someone with speed, excellent positioning, excellent finishing

    1. Thats why I have said if we can’t get a CF buy a LW and push Sanchez up top. If we buy a LW we can play 4-4-2 as well. With Sanchez up top with Giroud just behind him.

  8. Someone please tell me that the Llorente deal is a joke about talks ongoing… Not to mention I heard that Cech will be the only marquee signing and we should expect youth players coming in until the window closes. I need reason right now from anyone, no way Cech was the only missing link for us and if that’s the case that would be really sad for the fans again…

  9. I used to love those days. It was a competition of men, the likes of nevilles, giggs, scholes, keanes, beckhams, nistelrooys and we had , the viera’s, henry’s, bergkamps, pires, keown. It was a battle of men.

    I see today a player like DI Maria, my blood boils. Ohh I am glad he is not a Arsenal player. A player no matter what gone missing is a shame. Going to french league , instead of staying here and proving LVG that he is a champion player. He needs to learn a thing or two from our boy Ozil, he didnt have great starts, he was under shell and then got injured but he came back and now has gunner blood running. Shame on Di Maria , I am A FOOTBALL SUPPORTER and I hate players like him who just dont have respect for anyone.

    1. Its about player management as well. Wenger is one of the best in getting the best out of his players. If I was a player of Di Maria’s caliber not being given the freedom to do what I want to do on the pitch but forced to follow some “process” which doesn’t make sense to me, I would leave as well. Arsene Wenger gives his players freedom to express themselves on the pitch, that’s why I rarely see players disgruntled with his management.

  10. And thats why I like our Jack his a footballer and an Arsenal supporter. He will come good because it’s not all about the money money money.

    1. It’s not about the money, money, money is’t about the world seeing we are the best team.

      Spend all you want LVG and Jose, I still remember Blackburn and look where they are now.

  11. Adding up everything that reliable sources have said over the past few weeks I think it’s pretty certain Arsenal were in for Benzema. Wenger wants Benzema. It’s pretty certain Arsenal put in a large bid for Benzema. And now, it’s pretty certain we won’t be getting Benzema. It doesn’t even look like a remote possibility. I didn’t really want us to splurge huge cash on Benzema in the first place, but it still poses the question – who will Arsenal turn their attention to next? Will they try and sign anyone else?

    I have a weird feeling Arsenal will go for Lewandowski instead. After all, we have a lot of money clearly. We’re in for a top striker. We had the bottle to try and test Real Madrid with money, I don’t think it’s unimaginable that we’ll try and do the same with Bayern. But trying it with Bayern doesn’t mean we’ll get a different result. We would be laughed off probably.

    I just have no idea who Arsenal will end up buying, if we buy anyone at all. There really don’t seem to be any top quality attacking players on the move this summer. Really, who is there?

    The only bits of encouragement we have are the knowledge that Wenger does want a quality striker, and that we have enough money to afford one.

  12. You know for a site that hates Mourinho this blog publishes a lot of articles with an “us against the world” sentiment attached. Neville may be an ex United player but he’s pretty objective as far as pundits go and he criticises everyone when they deserve it, Arsenal, United and Chelsea alike.

    The fact that United finished below Arsenal has almost zero bearing on the assessment as neither team were close to challenging at any point. You read the interview and he’s giving a frank assessment. The article uses Stoke as a counter argument but its a myopic comparison as Stoke have nowhere near the quality that Arsenal do, it isn’t a case of physicality alone.

    Sol Campbell, Viera etc were beasts physically but they were brilliant footballers as well and that is what Neville is referring to. Even the most optimistic Gunner can see our team with the likes of Viera and Campbell was far more intimidating and much tougher to play vs.

    Is this to say our new team isn’t quality? Of course not but he is right. Arsenal still struggle vs physical teams, being 3 – 0 down at half time vs Stoke cannot be injuries alone.

    I get people want to defend the club but they have got to call a spade a spade.

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