Gary Neville says Arsenal’s experienced players are not providing the leadership their young players need following the 2-1 defeat at Everton.
The late loss at Goodison Park followed a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United on Thursday, adding up to a difficult few days for Mikel Arteta and his side.
The Gunners led at Old Trafford but eventually succumbed to defeat, while Martin Odegaard gave them the advantage on Merseyside before late goals from Richarlison and Demarai Gray secured victory for Rafael Benitez’s side.
And while Neville thinks there are plenty of positives in this young Arsenal side, he believes the inexperienced players need more help from the older heads if they are to find ways of getting through tough moments in games.
“He is just teetering, isn’t he?” Neville said of Arteta on Monday Night Football after the defeat to Everton.
“He’s doing a good job and then he loses a few and he is under pressure. He is flip-flopping between those two things and there is no in-between.
“I think when we talk about this being a young team in terms of the average age, when you go to places like Old Trafford and Goodison Park in a night game one or two of the young players won’t have experienced it too many times.
“I remember my first game going to Anfield and it was tough, going to Arsenal at Highbury. You need experience to get you through those difficult moments when the crowd go up and a few decisions go against you and you can feel something happening.
It was a disappointing night for Granit Xhaka on his return from injury
“You need comfort in there. You need that spine. Arsenal’s senior players are not really massive characters. They are not really leaders. They don’t get those young players through those difficult moments in the game so the other players just go under a little.
“That is natural. I think there is a lot of talent there. The young players are not the problem. The problem in Arsenal’s team is that they have not got the direction or the standards around them to get them through these turbulent moments that occur at Old Trafford or Goodison and you just feel you need that arm around you. They have not got it.”
‘Arteta, Auba relationship could turn sour’
Gary Neville feels that something is brewing between Mikel Arteta and Aubameyang after the captain started on the bench for their defeat against Everton, suggesting their relationship could turn sour.
Meanwhile, Neville feels that something is brewing between Mikel Arteta and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after the captain started on the bench.
The Arsenal captain eventually came on in the 85th minute and did have one final chance to secure a point for his side, but he snatched at his strike, extending his run without a Premier League goal to six games.
“I think there will be a problem with Aubameyang off the back of the this game,” Neville said.
“I don’t think he’ll like the idea of Eddie Nketiah coming on before him. I don’t think he’ll like the idea of being a substitute, full stop.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang cuts a frustrated figure as Demarai gray celebrates Everton’s winner
“There’s always that little bit of a bug there between Arteta and Aubameyang.
“I know he’s the captain but he leaves him out and it just feels like something that’s a little bit awkward, and it’s going to cause a problem.
“I suspect, if Arteta could probably get money for Aubameyang and he could get someone else, they probably would.
“And I bet if Aubameyang could move on he probably would as well because it could maybe turn a little sour.”
Carra: Everton defeat a bad one for Arsenal
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton’s win over Arsenal in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, Jamie Carragher criticised the manner of Arsenal’s defeat to Everton, saying it’s a big blow to the future aspirations Mikel Arteta has for his side.
“I’ve got a lot of time for what Mikel Arteta said after the game and how he spoke about Arsenal’s performance,” Carragher told MNF.
“At Goodison Park and Old Trafford, I wouldn’t say I feel let down because I’m not an Arsenal supporter, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Arsenal and Arteta.
“I could get behind the young players, I could see the organisation and what they were trying to do, but obviously not at the level of the teams challenging for the title.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta gives instructions to his players on the touchline at Goodison Park
“But I thought they lacked a little bit of bite at Old Trafford, but you can almost understand it. Going away to Manchester United is a tough away game.
“However, that at Everton, they’ve lost to a team just through spirit. There’s no real top quality in the Everton team, and Everton just won that on enthusiasm and the crowd.
“That was a bad one for Arsenal and Arteta in terms of where they are trying to go and get to, and it was a worrying sign how they lost.
“It’s not the fact they lost, they can win their next home game and still be challenging for the top four but in terms of where you think they want to go long term, that was a bad one to lose and how they lost.”
Arteta: It wasn’t good enough
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta criticised how many mistakes his side made against Everton in the Premier League and suggested he wanted more quality from his team.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made no excuses for his side after their defeat to Everton, saying the performance they produced was not good enough.
“In the first half we were very inconsistent with the ball. I didn’t like it. No penetration,” Arteta told Sky Sports.
“One of the few times we did it we scored. Second half we tried to do more of those things, created four big chances but conceded a very sloppy goal when you need to manage the game. We couldn’t take the ball into the final third.
“They’re not going to give you time, at Goodison you know what to expect. I think the team tried to go, we kept pressing high. We lost a few important duels that put us some pressure.”
When asked whether Everton’s Ben Godfrey should have been sent off, Arteta said: “That decision was made, I’m sure VAR reviewed it.
Ben Godfrey escaped a red card for this incident involving
“What I want is more from my team. Today you have the game under control even though you’re not playing your best and you have to find a way to win it. The way we conceded the goal and losing this match is not something good.
“It could have been very different but we haven’t managed to do it. When the opponent is there for the taking you have to do it and we haven’t. It wasn’t good enough.”
He added: “They were there for the taking and when that happens you have to grab it and kill it. We didn’t do that today.
“They are young but we have to learn quickly. Against Manchester United we had a similar thing and deserved much more but didn’t get the points.
“Away from home you cannot give anything to the opponent. They are strong enough. We had opportunities to score goals and when we didn’t it was not good enough. The performance in general was not good enough.”
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher both thought that Everton’s Ben Godfrey showed intent when his studs met the face of Arsenal’s Tomiyasu. The incident was referred to VAR but the defender escaped seeing red.
‘Defeat hard to take – we stopped playing’
Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard was left disappointed by the defeat and said his side stopped playing, especially after taking the lead through his strike just before half time.
“It’s a hard one to take. I think in general we were not at the level we needed to be at today.
“We had some good moments but we have to do much better. We should have been better.
“It’s hard to say. That’s just how it is sometimes. It’s hard to say exactly what happened. We have to do better when we have that lead. We stopped playing and gave them the game they wanted to play.
“I think it is [a mindset problem]. When you’re leading 1-0 you get afraid to lose the win and in my opinion that’s what we did wrong today. You go for the second goal and that was the intention but we didn’t manage to do that on the pitch.”
Win GBP250,000 with Super 6!
Another Saturday, another chance to win GBP250,000 with Super 6. Play for free, entries by 3pm.
Arsenal host Southampton on Saturday December 11; kick-off 3pm.