Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reviews Everton game
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Gary Neville has explained why his view on the title race has changed after both Arsenal and Manchester City lost their previous games to Everton and Tottenham respectively. Pep Guardiola’s outfit had the chance to close the gap on the Premier League leaders to two points on Sunday, but Harry Kane’s sole goal ensured that the Gunners remained five points clear with a game in hand on the second-placed side.
Despite Arsenal losing their second game of the league season, Neville was encouraged by their weekend after watching Guardiola tinker with his side further before their defeat to Spurs. “We were at the City game on Sunday and the team came through I thought ‘hmm’, for the first time I thought Arsenal could win the league,” Neville said on The Overlap.
“That’s not looking smart after the events when City lost, I thought ‘He [Guardiola] is messing around, he is tinkering far too much’. I don’t know why [Kevin] De Bruyne isn’t playing, I don’t know why [Ilkay] Gundogan hasn’t played, I don’t know why [Ruben] Dias isn’t back in at centre-back with [Aymeric] Laporte to make them solid.
“I saw the team and from my point of view, my prediction was City would catch Arsenal. I was less sure on Sunday afternoon than I had ever been. I was pretty certain two weeks ago. I was actually certain on Saturday afternoon, I thought ‘Right City will do it proper tomorrow, this will be a champions performance. He will go with his best team, he won’t mess around’.
“But if he carries on like that, carries on doing what he is doing… Sometimes great managers of that ilk, I know Sir Alex [Ferguson] had it a little bit as well, they just like to do things a little bit differently.”
Neville’s admission that Arsenal could win the league represents a huge change from his previous claim that the Gunners would finish in third place. When asked if Arsenal will win the Premier League last month, Neville told Sky Sports: “No. But I said Leicester wouldn’t win the league. They won’t win the league. Manchester City will win the league, and I think Man Utd will finish second, and I know that will annoy Arsenal fans!
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“At some point, there will be a very difficult period for Arsenal this season. Is it conceivable that Arsenal are going to continue as they are? I don’t think it is.
“Could they draw two and lose one in a three-game period, and if they did that, their lead is gone, and the pack is up with them?
“That’s what I think is going to happen, we’ll see a traditional Premier League season where a team goes out, the pacemaker, and then they’ll get drawn back in a little bit. But I still think that this season is going to be far better for Arsenal than I ever imagined it would be.”
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