Manchester United icon Gary Neville has claimed that Arsenal’s lack of leadership is costing them following Monday night’s 2-1 loss to Everton.
The north Londoners failed to impose themselves on proceedings at Goodison Park, losing a number of important duels in midfield whilst struggling to break down the Toffees’ resolute defence despite registering 64% possession.
Eventually, Martin Odegaard’s first-half strike was cancelled out by Richarlison’s 79th-minute header before Demarai Gray fired in an emphatic stoppage-time winner for the hosts.
After the full-time whistle, Neville highlighted the lack of leaders in Mikel Arteta’s squad, admitting that the Gunners’ squad needs vocal characters to help drag them through the difficult moments.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, he said: “When you talk about the young team that we saw, average age, you go to places like Old Trafford, Goodison Park on a night game where some of those young players wouldn’t have experienced it too many times.
“I think it’s tough. I remember my first few games playing at Anfield or Highbury you need really good experienced players to get you through difficult moments when the crowd gets up.
“A few decisions go against you. You feel something happening. You just need comfort in there as young players. You need the spine to be really strong and Arsenal’s senior players, they’re not really massive characters.
“They’re not massive leaders. They don’t really get young players through difficult moments in games and the young players go under a little bit which is natural.
“There’s a lot of talent there – they’re not the problem. The problem in Arsenal’s team is that they haven’t got the direction and understanding to get them through these turbulent moments that occur when you’re at Old Trafford, at Goodison, and the crowd get up and you feel like you need that arm around your shoulder.
“They haven’t got it. Mikel Arteta doesn’t have it as a young manager.”
With so many youngsters coming through at the club, Arteta and Edu may look to rectify that in January to bring in that added experience Neville alludes to, in order to help guide some of the other players in tougher moments.