Arsene Wenger came in for some heavy criticism from Gary Neville on Sky Sports Monday Night Football following our goalless draw against Liverpool, but the manager has responded in fairly typical fashion, as reported by The Telegraph.
The former Manchester United man turned pundit branded Arsene Wenger arrogant (via The Telegraph), and blasted him for not fixing the same issues in the team that have been there for years. Neville believes we don’t have – nor have we had in a long time – players of power to compliment our plethora of tricky and skilful stars, and claims the team lacks balance.
“It is the one big, if you like, black mark, against Arsene Wenger in these last 10 years of why he hasn’t identified an issue with these types of players [Santi Cazorla & Francis Coquelin] because they cannot win the league with those types of players. It can’t happen,” Neville is quoted as saying.
“To me it’s arrogance. I think it’s arrogance. I really do. To think that you are not going to adapt your team, to change to impact on the other teams that you’re playing against and their strengths.”
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry came to his former mentor’s defence, claiming that it was more to do with belief than arrogance. Neville was having none of it though, insisting that it was either arrogance or naivety.
“It is either naive, or arrogance,” Neville retorted.
- Where Arsenal would have finished in the league without VAR
- Arsenal’s top Hector Bellerin replacement is now available for £30m
- [Team news] Predicted Arsenal line up vs Brighton – Loan stars dropped
“Because they keep losing this way. Belief? It is miss-held belief.”
Wenger responded in his usual calm and collected manner, rubbishing Neville’s assessment while diplomatically entitling everyone to their own opinion.
The Frenchman suggested that Neville’s opinion was wrong in this case, but refused to be drawn into a debate.
“Look, I don’t know what that has to do with arrogance. You find all kind of attributes for me since I’ve been here. I try just to do my job well for 20 years. I leave judgement to everybody else, the assessment of the quality of my work,” Wenger said (via The Telegraph).
“Everybody has his opinion and is entitled to that opinion. I could prove to you that it’s not necessarily right, but let’s not go into that debate. When you don’t win, you’re wrong and people find reasons. Are they good reasons? I have enough experience to know when it’s right and when it’s wrong.”
The retired right-back does have a point, in that we have been badly lacking power in midfield for years. Claiming we can’t win the league with Cazorla and Coquelin is a little harsh though, and it arguably would have been more apt to say that we would struggle to win with only Cazorla and Coquelin.
Arsenal transfer news
Most Arsenal fans are in agreement that we need a new striker and another defensive midfielder if we are to challenge, but as the close of the window draws closer it’s looking far less likely.