Was Gary Neville a tad harsh on the Arsenal players?

Gary Neville went into full rant mode after Arsenal got beaten by Manchester City on Sunday, but the fact is that the Gunners were playing one of the best (and most expensive) Premier League teams seen in this generation. But Neville didn’t take that into account. He said at one point: “In the minute before that goal, I mentioned the walking of the Arsenal players, and then the retreating runs of Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka, ambling, jogging back – an absolute disgrace they are, an absolute disgrace.

“Walking on a football pitch at Wembley, giving up, spineless.”

We surely all know that Pep Guardiola’s side would have made any other team look just as ordinary on their day, and Ray Wilkins, though agreeing Arsenal are not a great team, he thought that Neville’s comments were a bit over the top. Wilkins said: “This isn’t the best Arsenal side I’ve ever seen – in fact it’s one of the worst Arsenal sides I’ve ever seen.

“There’s no leaders and you need leaders in dressing rooms. If you don’t have them you’re going to struggle to win anything.

“They face City again on Thursday and whatever team Guardiola puts out I’m sure they’ll beat an Arsenal side that’s looking rather fragile.”

“They weren’t very good but they were playing against a very good side. It’s tough because you never play to your maximum in finals. A lot of nerves creep in and a global audience are watching.

“City were very good and were never going to lose the game. Some of the words used against the Arsenal players were, in my opinion, a tad harsh.

“When you’ve been chasing the ball around for long periods you will have to walk, but I see where Gary was coming from. You should be trying to close the opposition down and win the ball back.”

So can we be fair and say that Man City would have beaten any team, and if Arsenal were playing anyone else at all on sunday, they would have looked a lot better?

Sam P


  1. Sadly the only player with heart in that team left went out injured which is monreal. Wilshere my as that guy is very overated.
    As soon as I saw the line up I know we would loose. Who plays 5 midfielder against city. We had no balance in that formation. At least put welbeck on the wing or iwobi and leave wilshere or Ramsey on the bench and also elneny should have played that match to play as a cdm. He is the only midfielder we have that give a f**k about defending..the less I say about chambers the better. Holding is way more matured and composed. Even though holding isn’t the answer but boy o boy chamber was like an accident waiting to happen.
    I will say this I know a lot of people have noticed but may be they feel he is immune to criticism well koscielny has been utter rubbish this season maybe injury/age is catching up. He isn’t the player he was before.
    Bellerin is another player we need to get rid of he is beginning to be a liability, cant give a simple pass, can’t cross to save his life oh and his shooting please spare us..the players that is worth keeping in this squad, monreal, ozil, pea, lacazet, ospina as backup, iwobi,miki, Ramsey, the rest should get out of our club.

    1. Gary neville is very biased.

      but we all saw how pathetic our players are..clearly tactics lacking.

      saw a video of an arsenal fan abusing arsene wenger…..hope its not real.
      we might want wenger out but he is still a human being..no need to insult him like that.

      i want wenger out more than anything else but some of us young men need to respect him as an old man as the society demands.
      Shame on that young man if the video is real.

  2. Personally I don’t believe he was. At one point when you are so far in the top 4 race, out of the FA Cup and not even sure to win your Europa tie against AC Milan in the current state…players should be more hungry when being 90 mins away from what could be the only piece of silverware of the season.
    Is Man City the better team? Clearly position for position they are better and you could argue that even Özil can’t make that team. They were playing poorly and Wenger set the team tactically ok even though he sould have been more reactive after the 1st goal.
    This team has been inconsistent and made mistake after mistake this season. They look unprepared, they look uncertain, they were late in every 50-50 ball, there was no urgency in tracking back (Xhaka & Ramsey), no communication and a lack of mental make up.
    You wonder what is the coaching staff doing on a day to day to prepare these players both in the mental preparation and physical side. How much do they study the opposing team or how much individual work is done to allow those players to be better as the season progress but more importantly better than the 1st day they arrived at the club.
    When you look at Chamberlain and as much as we hate what he did he looks a better player under Klopp. Gabriel is arguably one of the best defenders in la liga and couldn’t get consistent minutes with us. Coquelin is playing his best football and scored a goal recently.
    Wenger isn’t able to make players better anymore. Bellerin hasn’t progressed much since arriving onto the scene. Also Aubameyang & Lacazette like Giroud before must be wondering why isn’t the team playing into there strenght.
    All in all Wenger should go at the end of the season he isn’t getting through them anymore. He should have been gone after losing the league but winning the cup in 2015 that was the perfect time. Now more than ever after the changes made with Sven and Raul.
    Build a statue for everything he has done to football and Arsenal (in the 1st decade), make him a honorary director, set up a game including former and current players but let him go this summer. Tuchel, Ancelotti, Enrique are free to only those without club.
    Our football now looks plain and with no ideas…Liverpool and City are playing better says a lot about our slide downwards…

  3. Have never been a big fan of Neville but in this instance he is spot on in his assessment of the lack of professionalism in the Arsenal squad. He highlights Ramsey, Xhaka, Ozil and rightfully so but honestly the entire starting 11 should be ashamed and embarrassed for that shambolic display. There was an unacceptable lack of passion, and pride for the Arsenal badge exhibited in that pathetic attempt @ futbol. Nevilles statements were further echoed by club legend Ian Wrights interview following the CC cup beatdown opining that the Arsenal players don’t respect or fear Wenger, who attempts to rule the dressing room with a policy of appeasement rather than an iron fist. He went on to mention that players regularly show up late for practice or request “sick” days to avoid training.

    And the majority of the Arsenal board truly believe Wenger has earned the right to make his own decision concerning his future @ the club.

    Truly at a loss for words

  4. Neville is just bias, along with the other Ex footballers and a lot of them are just haters for the gunners and never actually talk anything constructive. (Football commentary has gone worst over the last 4-5 years.. (Bring back Andy Gray)

    I watched Man u v Seville last week, and Man U played exceptionally bad except De Ga… And the commentary seem to have forgot to pick this up… All the way during the game, no mention that Man U have not had a shot on goal… (No get my facts right) They had one shot on goal for 90 mins.. But the commentary was all about how well Man U did for not conceding…. If this was Arsenal, we would not heard the end of it…. They would have spoken about how bad Arsenal played and how Wenger is not up to the challenge.

    So I suggest we SKY stop getting ex Man U and ex Liverpool players commentating on Arsenal games whom seem to have an alternative agenda or we get someone whom wont be so bias and talk Sh*t.

    1. Your spot on th 14 the football pundits have gotten to be terrible rece tly they say absurd statmwnts to get there names in the papers over the players instead of analysing the game or season and neville is mu biased he will say anything i am not excusing the loss but i am not going to listen to neville talk about a rival club

    2. TH 14, I don’t know whether you know this but Sky tried to buy Manchester United back in the nineties, the reason it failed was because the FA deemed it conflict of interest, they’ve backed United ever since, so much so that it cost our Invincible team at least three more Premier league titles between ’96 and ’05

    3. The problem faced by ex players such as Gary Neville and Steve Nicol is that when they played for strong Manchester United and Liverpool teams respectively, they encountered Arsenal teams with quality, strength and determination. You can imagine their dismay looking at the current Arsenal displays and regretting that they didn’t have the opportunity to play against them!
      Neville is correct that there is no leadership in recent Wenger managed Arsenal teams; Arsene appears to not like strong characters and potential conflict in the dressing room or on the pitch.

  5. Sam P’S ARTICLE IS ACTUALLY ASKING US THIS: IS SPEAKING THE PLAIN TRUTH LOUD AND CLEAR TOO HARSH? If any fans are afraid of the truth perhaps they should stay away from top level professional sport , in case their delicate feelings get hurt. I , for one, applaud and respect Gary Neville for being the total and refreshing opposite to Wenger. Firstly , Neville is a proper man, with balls(unlike Wenger) , the determination to always speak the truth as he sees it and without fear or favours. That is what makes him the widely respected and number one TV pundit , anywhere. Without the plain truth in life you will never succeed for long. If you strongly suspect you have cancer and go to the doctor for confirmation and to quickly begin the vital cure process, you are being harmed immensely if he sends you away with a couple of headache pills and fails to tell you the truth and diagnose the disease. In fact , you then die. This is where Arsenal is right now. We have had years of lies, distortions, excuses, failure to face the truth from Wenger and also from some of our current and ex-players , who played under Wenger. Honest ones forced a move because they saw the total lack of clarity, honesty and ambition by our club. It is true that CASHLEY HOLE was a lowlife peice of filth and he left for more money ONLY when the team was still a top one . But all the other so called “traitors” Nasri, Viera, even HENRY , RvP, Fabregas and Sanchez left for ambition primarily, rather than making more money. Adebayor was another lowlife and a tart and good riddance to him. But you see the trend, I trust? The torrent of deep resentment that tens of thousands of us feel towrds Wenger and the regime above him, for allowing this cancer to take its deadly hold on our club, is a massive and – by some but not me- largely ignored factor in his dismissal which will happen VERY soon now. As soon as it was announced that Josh Kroenke had taken a three month stay in London to PROPERLY ANALYSE HOW THE CLUB IS (mis) RUN, I knew Wengers days were extremely numbered. With all the other appointments in the club, none of which Wenger wanted, it is now very clear that the cancer is being treated seriously. When Wenger is sacked , it will not be beaten, as we still have a cancerous owner and board, BUT it will be a landmark day in our revival from near death, caused (though not entirely alone) by Wenger. Rejoice my friends, we live to fight another day. Very soon now!

    1. Jon , I know sometimes we have differences and before I start I think as usual there’s a lot of sense in your article, however Neville’s rant was not punditry, more like abuse towards Arsenal and it’s not the first time. You say he’s the best pundit on television but it’s easy to talk about a game after the event, but he wasn’t so good with Valencia and as number two for England when it was required before the event. I think he has a personnel hate for Arsenal going back to the nineties when he was a player. You never heard him abuse Liverpool when they were sh*t a few years ago or he’s beloved Manchester United when they were in a similar position to us last year. I feel he uses this filthy abuse towards our team because were an easy target and gets the backing of the English media. Remember Jon, before you also rant I did agree with most of your post.

      1. Kenny Rolfe,
        The point you make about us being an easy target is so true.
        He knows he will get a percentage of gooners agreeing with him and another percentage disagreeing.
        I cannot remember our fanbase being so split and this pundit just uses the situation to promote himself as “an honest man who speaks the truth”.
        Wonder when he will admit that he and his thug of a brother were told to go and kick Reyes out of football.
        How can anyone have respect for that kind of man?

      2. No rant Kenny. We differ on Neville as a pundit, though not on when he played. I find him an astute and fearless man, who does dislike Arsenal , as you might expect from a Man Utd man to his fingertips and personally I don’t blame him, since I also dislike the way we play, “defend” and the shambolic lack of organisation , as do many thousands of fellow Gooners, who post these thoughts regularly. Were I in his place , you may be sure I would be far more caustic in my TV comments about our “team” than even him! But Neville is a sub plot in my post and I am not much concerned with him . As a Gooner , my love is Arsenal and, like you, I want Wenger out passionately and cannot wait for what I regard as his imminent sacking. The substance of my post was about explaining WHY I am sure Wenger will soon be toast. And I am counting the days til his removal!

    2. John Fox, I watch from a distance but read your comments with interest. You are spot on. I have supported this club since 1971 and can honestly say I am at my wits end with this current team and manager. I wish there were more fans like you who could speak up and tell the truth. Sam P and his ilk are really sorry excuses for fans. Wenger’s time has been and gone, time to move on and quickly!

      1. Dennis, Thanks a lot and can I humbly ask that you post on here more often, since you can clearly say something of substance, write clearly and even punctuate well(which is beyond most young people, sadly). Take heart my friend , as I am practically certain that this ridiculous and damaging manager will very soon be toast. I fully expect and hope for a big defeat against AC Milan to finish any lingering hopes he may harbour of remaining. He won’t!

    3. Jon fox neville has got no bollocks he is biased as th14 said above a poor example of a pundit he has no right to comment on arsenal and sky should get someone better

  6. No I don’t think he was. It was a final for God’s sake, not a kick around in the park! God knows when we’ll reach another! So it would have been nice if they’d at least tried!
    It was just an embarrassment…

    1. Their dad is ok with any performance they put, he never criticize them, or even change tactics, just plain st**id

  7. Neville needs to start criticising the manager. I’ve not heard his latest tirade against us, and although justified, he always puts the baulk of the blame on the players. He always backs Wenger, and says delusional rubbish like, “who could do any better”?.

    He’s right that we have no leaders, but who’s at fault for that? No organising, again, who’s at fault? So on, and so on… Xhaka, and Mustafi were awful, but they are blameless, because they shouldn’t have even been starting! I wouldn’t have even had Xhaka in the match day squad, he’s been that bad. Why does Wenger keep playing them? Does he never actually watch them play?

    The criticism of Wenger has never been harsh enough, and that needs to change.

    1. Sue, that is such a telling statement.
      So, take it one step further and ask why he coudn’t get the commitment from the players under his control?
      He and his brother were booted out even before they had completed one season.
      The rant started before five minutes had been played, so le’ts just forget him is my answer.
      The frustrating thing is that every player that day, apart from Kolasinac (in my opinion) were awful and deserve everything that they are getting as a backlash.
      I also include Wenger and Bould (what does that man do for heavens sake) in the backlash, so please can I not be accused of being a wenger fan? It gets so boring.

      1. Ken, I often wonder what Bould does… the only time his mouth is open is when he’s chewing his gum!
        I agree it does get boring, at the end of the day we’re all gooners!

        1. Sue,
          He is nearly as bad as Allardyce and that’s saying something!!
          Our defence has been blamed, quite rightly, for most of the problems.
          So what is he doing for heavens sake?
          Yes, we are all gooners with differing views and I always know that when I see your name the comments are worth reading and digesting.

  8. I am no fan of Neville. But he was absolutely right.
    The players were a disgrace.
    I also think it is very telling, that it is not the fact that City won 3-0 people (fans and neutrals alike) are most angry about. No, it is the lack of trying, that really pi….. everybody off.
    How can a supposedly big club sink so deep? The man responsible for it was sitting on the bench.

  9. I’d like to say that it’s been a nice ride for me here at JustArsenal but sadly it’s not the same without thumbs up/down anymore, and the site is clearly deteriorating. So regretfully this will be my last post. I’m off to Arseblog. So long, everyone!

    1. LOL Vlad, deteriorating?
      The site is getting more comments than ever since the thumbs down destroyed my server.
      Isn’t it better to talk than just see what the trolls decide to tick!
      I prefer it anyway.
      You will be missed….

      1. Mr Admin, Though I too had wanted the thumbs back, your comments above are clearly true. There is now a far better quality of debate on here. I was wrong and you were right in that the only losses were people who mainly had nothing to actually say and contented themselves with “thumbs”. The site has improved and so please accept my apology to you personally.

    2. Vald you have posted this 3 times lol comments are good we share viewpoints and opinion thumbs up and down are lazy poor man accusations admin has done well by removing and letting us converse over such topics back and forth

  10. What Neville said was correct.The players should be pulled into a room together to watch and listen to what was said about them.They would understand Neville told them exactly what everyone was thinking but never get the opportunity to broadcast.
    The Manager should be made accountable and explain to the Board why he has made OUR CLUB the LAUGHING STOCK OF ENGLISH FOOTBALL.
    But I believe this now works in our favour,
    We know the Board are Spineless Morons pissed on their Gin and Tonics by 10.30 every morning who not only have no clue how to run a football club but more importantly how to address the manager situation of a club in a dramatic free fall with the prospects of getting out of this non existent.But they are more likely now in a position where they are unwilling to submit again to this decrepit has been manager as it will reflect more and more.Wenger is being scrutinised daily in the press and the Board will not allow themselves to be blamed with Wenger himself aware this is the beginning of the end.
    I would love it if they were for once seen to be decisive and in control of this situation,SACK HIM NOW.Do not wait until this situation is made worse as it surely will

  11. Team Arsenal is playing with a lack of confidence. Good players don’t become awful overnight. They need love from the fans if they are to consistently battle for a top four place. The top four teams will lose matches, Arsenal fans must continue to support the team. The youth players must seize their opportunities to make it in the first team. Arsene Wenger will eventually make way for a top manager to manage Arsenal if the fans support him. He won’t have a point to prove and will leave. All the animosity from fans and the media is making him reluctant to leave. You”ve done a good Wenger help select the next manager.

  12. Wenger has lost the team. He is too lackadaisical with players. He was so lucky having strong minded players in late 90s and early 2000s like Henry, Tony Adams, Viera, Bergkamp, Campbell, Keown etc. that he was probably the same way as they didn’t need motivation

    Wengers faults
    1. Can’t motivate
    2. Can’t sign top players
    3. Misjudges players he does sign ie Xhaka, Mustafi, Chambers
    4. Too loyal to average players
    5. Poor starting lineups
    6. Only ambition of top 4
    7. Extremely stubborn

    1. He did sign some top players ( Sanchez. Ozil, Aubamayang) but also too many mediocre ones (Mustafi, Xhaka. Chambers, Elneny etc.).

  13. Neville’s right but we are giving him too much credence. He’s just stating the obvious even a blind man would have come to the same conclusion, it doesn’t take a so called ‘pundit’ ( I hate ‘pundits’) to tell us what we are looking at. Perhaps he should have a go at his former club for playing boring, cr**py football. It’s sad making a living by slagging off fellow players even if it’s true.

    Sue’s right, he can’t have a go at ANY manager because of his embarrassing time at Valencia.

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