Gary Neville has delivered his verdict on Premier League leaders Arsenal (Pictures: Getty)
Gary Neville has explained why he still ‘questions’ Premier League leaders Arsenal despite ‘loving’ four members of Mikel Arteta’s squad at the Emirates.
The Gunners returned to the top of the English top-flight on Sunday after Gabriel’s second-half goal saw Arsenal beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Defending champions Manchester City went top after a dramatic win over Fulham the previous day but Arsenal reclaimed the position as they look to be top by the time the World Cup begins.
Neville has been impressed by Arsenal’s progress this season but insists he will continue to ‘question’ Arteta’s side until they prove they can perform over the course of an entire season.
The Gunners looked set to finish in the top-four last term before a late collapse allowed north London rivals Tottenham to secure the final Champions League spot.
‘We have to question Arsenal,’ the former Manchester United and England defender said on the Sky Sports Gary Neville podcast.
‘Arsenal fans come at me every single week, every single week, because I will still continue to question them until I don’t see a moment like I did with five or six games to go last season and they get through those moments and they finish in the top-four.
‘They haven’t proven it yet. It’s like a boxer who hasn’t won a title. You have to question them. But what you can’t question is that was a really, really good performance.
‘It’s still very early in the season and we’ve got this unique break for the World Cup, we don’t know how players are going to react to that. There has to be questions because we don’t know what will happen after that but Arsenal have been fantastic in this first part of the season.
‘They’re a real value team, they play great football, I love watching their forward players. I love Jesus, I love Saka, I love Martinelli, absolutely fantastic. Odegaard is class, he’s class.
‘But I want to see it over 38 games and we’ve seen recently they’ve found it tough in the last part of the season. That is not being overly negative. It’s just saying let’s see what happens in 20 games time.
‘But I do think they’re bang on to finish in the top-four. I think they’ll fall behind Man City by some distance but that would be no shame. If they finish second that would be a magnificent achievement for Mikel Arteta.
‘They look like the real deal, they look like they’re going to get closer and get better. They’ve just got to show us they can do it across a season.
‘I’m getting more confident that it’s going to happen but I don’t think we’re wrong to continue to question because they haven’t proved it yet.’
Arsenal, who have now won 11 of their 13 league games this season, have two more games before the mid-season break, facing Brighton in the EFL Cup on Wednesday and Wolves in the Premier League next weekend.
Discussing Arsenal’s victory over Chelsea and the club’s Premier League title chances, Arteta said: ‘We’re playing a top top team, a top manager, top class players.
Arsenal beat London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (Picture: Getty)
‘The team showed maturity, composure and confidence and showed real character to impose ourselves on the pitch.
‘It was really difficult to contend with the quality they have. But starting with the front three players, we put on a lot of pressure, it will give them more belief.
‘It’s a really young team, but they played as a really mature team and it’s a big step against this opposition.
‘What Manchester City are doing is what they’ve been doing for six years, they’re the best team in world, with the best coach in the world. We have taken another step against a really difficult opposition and to convince ourselves we can do it.’
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‘I will still continue to question them.’