Gary Neville: Arsenal lack the grit and determination to win the title
Gary Neville says Arsenal lack the grit to mount a serious bid for this season's Premier League title
Gary Neville believes that Arsenal lack the “grit and determination” required to win the Premier League title this season.
The former Manchester United defender launched a scathing attack on Arsene Wenger following the Gunners’ goalless draw with Liverpool in the Premier League on Monday night, claiming that the Frenchman is either naive or arrogant to think his side could triumph without defensive reinforcements.
Much has been made of Arsenal’s lack of activity in the transfer market as Tuesday’s deadline looms, with the Gunners having only brought in Petr Cech from Chelsea so far this summer.
Coquelin is the only one amongst those who has any true defensive intelligence
Many had tipped Arsenal to challenge for the title this season but a stuttering start to the campaign has left the north London side with four points from their opening three games.
And ex-England international Neville feels that Arsenal are in dire need of better defensive-minded players if they are to mount a serious title challenge this season.
Neville wrote in his column for the Telegraph: “We cannot be blind to the hard facts of football over 30 or 40 years.
“Pure football has never prevailed, though I would be delighted to see it happen for [Mesut] Ozil, [Aaron] Ramsey, [Alexis] Sanchez, [Oliver] Giroud and Coquelin, who together can summon a great deal of technical ability but not much pace, power, height or strength.
“Giroud cannot challenge the space behind defenders. Coquelin is the only one amongst those who has any true defensive intelligence.
“To see a team out-football everyone for a whole season, and never have to rely on grit or determination four or five times to keep them in contention, would be an amazing breakthrough.
“Precedent suggests it will never happen. To win the league with the front six he played against Liverpool would require history to be redefined.
“In every one of the last 10 seasons Arsenal have finished either fourth or third. Those facts are pretty clear and suggest a lack of improvement.
“When I think of my own experiences of playing Arsenal I recall facing champion teams, champion players; teams you would be happy to draw against after a massive struggle. Arsenal exhausted you.”