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Gary Neville: Arsenal are a far better side than last year and will win their remaining games, including trip to Man Utd


Gary Neville: Arsenal are a far better side than last year and will win their remaining games, including trip to Man Utd

Arsenal are a "far better team" than last season, according to Gary Neville, and will win their remaining three Premier League games, including their trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.

The Gunners remain top of the Premier League after holding off a Spurs fightback to win 3-2 in a thrilling north London derby at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Manchester City's 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest ensures Pep Guardiola's side remain masters of their own destiny, a point behind Arsenal in second place with a game in hand.

But Neville hailed Arsenal's improved mentality after their victory over Spurs and feels they will push City until the last, with the title race potentially going to the wire.

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"It's a far better Arsenal team than last season, a far bigger mentality, a stronger mentality," he said on the Gary Neville Podcast.

"People will point towards William Saliba [returning] and I will as well, but it's more than that.

"There is a focus and discipline and attention to detail on the pitch in their defensive work - and six clean sheets on the bounce is a hell of an achievement in any season.

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"They maybe had a bit of a wobble, the Villa game and obviously in the Champions League, but that can happen.

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"They've got back on the bike and demonstrated that they have moved forward as a club, moved forward as a coaching team, moved forward as a group of players and are nowhere near the position they were in last season."

Arsenal's remaining games pit them against Bournemouth and Everton at home, either side of a trip to Old Trafford to face Manchester United.

Manchester City, meanwhile, face Wolves at home next, live on Sky Sports on Saturday, with away trips against Fulham and Tottenham before a home meeting with West Ham on the final day.

Neville believes the game against Erik ten Hag's side could test Arsenal, despite their struggles this season, but ultimately he expects the Gunners to take maximum points from their run-in.

"You never know what is going to happen at Old Trafford and Old Trafford can be a graveyard for teams," he said.

"Even with the way Manchester United are at the moment, you have to regard that as a massive match and a big game.

"Teams have won at Old Trafford that have been in the bottom half of the table, but teams in the top half of the table have gone there and struggled.

"Liverpool famously in the last month or two have lost an FA Cup quarter-final there and they drew in the league and that was probably the start of Liverpool's downfall in terms of where they are now [compared to where they were then], in terms of dropping out of the title race and getting knocked out of the FA Cup.

"You can never underestimate a game at Old Trafford. If you look at a collection of matches it can be overwhelming, but if you look at the form that Arsenal have been in and the defensive stability they have had, it's not because of team errors [that they conceded two goals against Spurs].

"I think they will achieve a 100 per cent record. The one doubt is the Old Trafford game. It will all depend for me on how City do in the next week or two as well."

Neville also commented on the VAR flash points at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, starting with the Micky van de Ven goal ruled out for offside in the first half.

"From one side, it looked like it was offside and from the other we weren't sure but obviously it was. We can get wound up about offsides with VAR, but that's the one I don't get wound up about because there is a consistency to it.

"The point at which the ball is kicked and the sort of hairlines that they draw on, they are the same every week and I think we have just got to go with that. That is a positive intervention in the game I believe."

Of the decision to penalise Rice for Tottenham's penalty, after Tottenham's initial appeals had been waved away, he added: "VAR was positively used in the second half where Michael Oliver, for him, made an error - I thought it was a big error for him.

"Imagine if VAR wasn't there? So, in some ways VAR has had a good day. As much as it has got its challenges, it was a good day in terms of how it was operated.

"I struggle with it at times, fans hate it, managers and players are struggling with it a lot, but it has had a good day in terms of how it was operated. It's either offside or it is not. There is no in-between there."

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20 of May 2024