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Gary Neville: Arsenal answered massive questions over title credentials with distinctive defensive show at Man Metropolis | Soccer Information

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Gary Neville felt Arsenal answered questions on their mentality and their defensive resilience as they held champions Manchester Metropolis to a goalless attract a good recreation on the Etihad Stadium.

Arsenal restricted Pep Guardiola’s facet to a solitary shot on the right track, changing into the primary group to maintain a clear sheet on the Etihad since 2021 and ending a 57-game Metropolis scoring run at house.

Their defensive show bore sharp distinction to their dire efficiency on the similar floor final season, when Metropolis seized management of the title race with a dominant 4-1 win.

William Saliba missed that recreation by damage, however the Frenchman was described as a “large on the pitch” by Neville as he named him participant of the match on Sunday.

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Watch highlights from the Premier League match between Manchester Metropolis and Arsenal

In accordance with the Sky Sports activities pundit, Saliba’s efficiency underlined how a lot he was missed throughout final 12 months’s run-in and proved the Gunners are actually stronger contenders, regardless of sitting two factors behind leaders Liverpool, who beat Brighton within the earlier recreation.

“I feel they answered two massive questions at this time,” Neville mentioned on Sky Sports activities. “One is on their mentality. Might they reside in an enormous recreation towards Manchester Metropolis?

“They folded right here final 12 months and so they had been in every single place, whereas at this time they withstood plenty of stress and seemed like a group that might undergo a title problem and have much more psychological power.

“That is an enormous query answered, as a result of it is tough to come back right here.

“The opposite one is on the defensive facet of issues. Final 12 months, it was recommended that with out Saliba they had been harmed, and that is been confirmed at this time.

“Saliba was immense, there is no doubt about that. So was Gabriel.

“However for me, the work ethic of the 2 vast gamers and the 2 forwards was additionally unimaginable.”

Erling Haaland attempts to shoot despite pressure from William Saliba
Erling Haaland makes an attempt to shoot underneath stress from William Saliba

For a 3rd consecutive recreation towards Arsenal, together with the Neighborhood Protect and the Gunners’ 1-0 win on the Emirates Stadium in October, Erling Haaland didn’t register a shot on the right track.

“The 2 centre-halves had been improbable,” added Neville. “They headed every part away, they actually did gang up on Haaland. It was a traditional one go tight and one maintain off, old school ways.

“However they’d plenty of gamers round them to allow them to do this. They’d the full-backs slender and tight, they’d the midfield compact with them.

“The 2 vast gamers tucked in and did a extremely good job, after which they’d the 2 ahead gamers, [Kai] Havertz and [Martin] Odegaard, when it was wanted as nicely.”

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He added: “If you’re enjoying towards a world-class participant, do not be embarrassed to suppose you have to double up. I fairly frequently, when enjoying towards [Marc] Overmars or [Robert] Pires, needed to get another person with me to gang up.

“That is what [Gabriel] Jesus did. Jesus bought [Jakub] Kiwior out of plenty of bother at this time. He was having a little bit of a tough recreation early on.

“Jesus was proper subsequent to him. [Bukayo] Saka subsequent to Ben White. They did an important job collectively.”

Manchester Metropolis had been left to rue Nathan Ake’s close-range miss within the first half, in addition to a late alternative which noticed Haaland uncharacteristically fail to attach with the ball. However Neville put their struggles in entrance of objective right down to their opponents.

Jack Grealish takes on Ben White
Ben White makes a problem on Jack Grealish

“I simply suppose Arsenal made it so tough for them. I’ve by no means seen a group make it so tough for Manchester Metropolis within the closing third. There did not appear to be any areas. The way in which through which Arsenal defended was fairly distinctive.”

Arsenal didn’t supply a lot by means of attacking risk on the different finish however Roy Keane agreed with Neville’s evaluation of their defensive efficiency and praised their pragmatic strategy.

“Everybody has a plan earlier than the sport however whenever you come to Man Metropolis, finally you already know you’re going to should defend,” he mentioned.

“The gamers mentioned that they did not plan t be that deep within the second half however Man Metropolis power you again.

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Manchester Metropolis’s Pep Guardiola praised Arsenal’s defensive show

“In possession I feel Arsenal in all probability wished to do a bit higher however they had been chasing the ball for lengthy durations within the recreation. You’re going to have heavy legs.

“They’d some moments. They’d two pictures on the right track and Metropolis solely had one, so Arsenal shall be happy.

“You must take a look at Metropolis as the house group and their file, it is a extra disappointing outcome for them. You must give credit score to Arsenal.”

Keane additionally highlighted the bodily enchancment of Arteta’s group in comparison with final season.

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“Bodily, they’re quite a bit stronger than final 12 months,” he mentioned. “There are positively extra athletes within the group. They’ll cope with that fixed stress, whereas final 12 months, we noticed they could not.

“The clear sheet is nice but in addition the dearth of pictures on the right track [from Man City].

“Normally, if a group comes right here and will get a outcome, you come away saying the goalkeeper was excellent, or they bought a bit fortunate with just a few selections. However they solely had one shot on the right track.”

Arteta: We have now made an enormous step

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was delighted by his facet’s dedication and resilience

Arteta praised his facet for his or her dogged show, telling Sky Sports activities: “For those who do not win, you are by no means glad glad. However I feel we have now made an enormous step. We have now skilled what occurred right here final 12 months and we have now come throughout otherwise.

“We have now performed plenty of elements of the sport in an distinctive means and different elements of the sport the place we have now the sensation we will do significantly better, particularly with the ball within the first part of the build-up once we did not have sufficient composure and endurance to play extra.

“As a result of after we dedicated some massive, massive, massive conditions to have the possibility to win the sport.”

Martin Odegaard is marked by Josko Gvardiol
Martin Odegaard is marked by Josko Gvardiol on the Etihad Stadium

He added: “The dedication of all of the gamers, the self-discipline they’ve in all of the defensive elements. After we had been actually excessive within the pitch making an attempt to win the ball we received the ball quite a bit. Then once they break that press we needed to monitor again, keep deep, we needed to be actually affected person and defend the field rather well.

“I feel it is 2021 the final time they have not scored at house, three years, that is a tough job.

“To come back to this massive place, not plenty of groups have accomplished what we have accomplished at this time, and particularly when there’s a lot at stake, it’s a must to reply and it is one other step.

“Nothing adjustments. We wished to win. Sadly we all know the Liverpool outcome however we have now to hold on. Nonetheless quite a bit to play for.”

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