Neville points out how opponents will target Arsenal new boy as a weak link

Gary Neville says clubs will target Arsenal’s new signing Ben White because of his limitations.

The Gunners made the Englishman their top summer signing recently after pursuing him for much of the transfer window.

White has been one of the most improved players in England in the last year, having shone on loan at Leeds United in the 2019/2020 campaign and back home for Brighton last season.

The Seagulls played hardball with his transfer after he earned a place in England’s squad for Euro 2020.

He has been tipped to transform Arsenal’s defence, but he didn’t make a good start to his time in London as Arsenal was beaten 2-0 by Brentford on his league debut for them.

He was at fault for the second goal and Arsenal struggled to defend against the Bees who are in their first top-flight season.

Having watched the match as a pundit, Neville says teams will take advantage of White’s physique and put their big attackers on him.

He said as quoted by Sun Sports: “I said before the game that nobody is going to remember at the end of the season how many good passes Ben White has made.

“And you know when we say he’s good on the ball, that was something we used to say 15 years ago when a centre-back was good on the ball.

“I actually think most centre-backs now, in top six clubs, are competent on the ball. They get it out their feet, play good passes, they can play diagonal switches.

“Harry Maguire is good on the ball, John Stones is good on the ball, Virgil van Dijk is good on the ball. They’re all good on the ball. Thiago Silva at Chelsea is good on the ball.

“So we’ve got to stop saying he’s good on the ball because every centre-back in the top-six is.

“The difference will be whether he defend his goal. Can he make a difference to this Arsenal team?

“And it’s too early. We’re talking about tonight but lets be clear, those Ivan Toney clips, those five or six clips where he’s got nudged around, that’s going to be the pre-match analysis of everyone who is going to play Arsenal.

“If you’re playing Arsenal next week, you’ll be thinking, ‘We’ll stick it on him, we’ll put it up against him, we’ll put our big man on him on set-pieces’, and he will be a target.

“He’s got a £50m price tag and he’ll have to come through those early months of pressure and expectation and people like us talking about him.

“That’s what happens. This is not an attack on Ben White, it’s just a reality club that he’s at a club where he’s going to be judged differently than he was last season at Brighton.”

Tags ben white Gary Neville


  1. Ben White did come to Arsenal expecting to play behind xhaka and lakonga but he will have to be nastier than he was at Brighton. I do fear for him when he comes up against powerful strikers, he wouldn’t be my choice for a 50 mil marquee signing. I struggle to see him as Arsenals long term CB but things can change.

  2. You dont HAVE to be a tall giant to be a good CB. To a degree, you need to have the guts and the attitude to be nasty and hard to beat. Mari is a joke partner to put next to by the way and I was never in favor of us signing him. Get Gabriel back please. Nothing we can do about having backpass/sideways passing xhaka playing most of our games, and sadly he’ll waste much of White’s passes. There are just so many problems in this team and as much as I like Ben White, he may not make that much of a difference since this club has not addressed literally every other problem in the XI.

  3. Simples you play to the players strength which is 3 at the back will 2 able defenders next to him while he does his thing in the ball
    Take note of Chelsea last week playing a 3-4-2-1 and how a manager gets the best out of his team .
    Obviously he was bought in to replace Luiz as the main ball playing defender but the difference is Luiz would have taken half the opposite teams players out on that 2nd goal compared to the hire who stood and watched .

        1. Had Luiz been a part of our title winning teams, he’d be hailed as a legend these days at Arsenal. Unfortunately, his arrival coincided with the club’s downward spiral.

  4. Xhaka will frustrate White and any other good center back with sideway/backward and terrible/injury prone passes.

    I am not a footballer but I do know that when a defender passes ball to a midfielder, you expect him to make a decent move and locate the next team mate up front or clear the ball of the yard box (in worst case scenario).

    But when Xhaka receive ball, he does exactly the opposite. Always looking for a safe passes which in most cases is either backward or sideways thereby drawing opponents to congest our yard box.
    Xhaka is notorious for depriving our attack the needed passes and frustrating the back 4 with unnecessary passes at the same time. He does these most times with too much errors and reckless tackles leading to fouls, cards and goals.

    1. Aw…you missed xhakas other asset, a lack of position
      Absolutely detest the player……a coward who always lets the team down

  5. Neville is saying jargoons already judging a player bcos of a single game, how many pl team has a big man upward as a striker. Been white will perform well for arsenal especially when Gabriel is back in the team, gab will handle most of the air ball and big defender. Every classic defender needs a better defender beside him. Gabriel and white is our central defense. Wait until they play together before he start demoralizing the poor boy bcos of his price tag. Dis pundits r becoming something else.

  6. The board has to buy correct playes not those like chambes,xhaka,and even brings compition for leno

  7. Being under 6ft he might struggle against the bigger and taller CFs. He has the perfect physique, technique and pace to play in central midfield though.

    1. We have a guy named Calum Chambers who won the “Player of the Season” while out on loan at Fulham, playing as a defensive midfielder under Scott Parker, a central midfielder in his playing days and the only recipient of FWA Player of the Year from a relegated team in the PL history.

      How many times Chambers played as a central midfielder in the past two seasons after his loan spell at Fulham? NIL.

      Our fanbase is crying out for a proper DM to be brought in during (almost) every transfer window. If Scott Parker can get the best out of Chambers in that role, why can’t Arteta, ironically a central midfielder himself in his playing days, trust Chambers in that role?

      There’s no harm in playing Ben White in the central midfield, had we not loaned out Saliba and Mavopranos this summer. Without them and Ben White in central midfield, the squad is just one injury to our existing CBs away from defensive crisis.

    2. @Andrew Elder
      Exactly. Dude is quick, mobile good with the ball at his feet and reads the game well. Push him up and turn him into a Kante type midfielder…

  8. These are some of the guys that were saying that White should be aiming higher than Arsenal . Just after on game they have started saying rubbish

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