Ian Wright: 23-year-old should have started for Arsenal at Man United

Arsenal legend Ian Wright says Unai Emery was too cautious in his approach to their clash against Manchester United

Ian Wright
Arsenal legend Ian Wright (Photo: BT Sport)

Ian Wright says he felt that Dani Ceballos should have been giving a starting spot in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday night.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery opted to go with three defensive-minded players in the shape of Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira in the middle of the park.

The Gunners struggled to find any momentum in the first half before Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay broke the deadlock ahead of half-time.

Ceballos replaced Torreira in the 55th minute and three minutes later, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang equalised for the visitors to secure a point at Old Trafford.

Emery has remained loyal to Xhaka after handing the Switzerland international the club captaincy on a permanent basis earlier this week.

The Gunners skipper has already been guilty of some reckless decisions in the Premier League this season.

Former Arsenal striker Wright felt that Emery should have started with Ceballos alongside Torreira and Guendouzi at Old Trafford.

“The disappointing thing from my side of it, when you look at chances created, Arsenal did do as much in the second half but I think his selection initially [was wrong],” Wright told Optus Sport, as quoted by Metro.

“With [Granit] Xhaka being the captain it then takes it away from [Lucas] Torreira, because I think Torreira should start and he did. But I do believe [Dani] Ceballos should start.

“They could have the protection of Torreira and [Matteo] Guendouzi and a bit more creativity. Because when you see Aubameyang get one chance, he takes the chance.

“If you get a midfielder on it who is going to at least try to get the ball into areas where he can run on to it, if he gets another chance he may score another goal.

“I think the manager is just being a bit too cautious.

“It was a Manchester United team that were lacking in a bit of confidence. Yes, [Marcus] Rashford and [Paul] Pogba were back but I think that Arsenal should have been a little bit more offensive and really put them under pressure.

“You’ve got a centre-half playing at left-back [Axel Tuanzebe] and not enough pressure put on him. ‘I think [Nicolas] Pepe has got to do a lot more at the moment, we want to see a lot more from him. ‘But I have to go back to the coach, he wasn’t positive enough for me.”

Arsenal are in fourth place in the Premier League table and nine points adrift of current leaders Liverpool FC after seven games.

The Gunners are looking to secure a return to the Champions League after failing to finish in the top four in the last three seasons.

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