Gary Neville has predicted that Arsenal will win the Premier League title despite Manchester City making a perfect start to the season.
The Sky Sports pundit gave his thoughts prior to Sunday’s North London derby which ended honours even at the Emirates. The result left the north Londoners down in fifth spot with 14 points to their name. They are four points adrift of table-topping City who show no signs of slowing down despite last year’s treble.
City and Arsenal were embroiled in their own private battle for Premier League honours in 2022-2023.
It was Pep Guardiola’s side that triumphed by five points. However, Mikel Arteta’s men ran them close, running out of steam as the business end of the season approached.
But Neville does not think that will be the case this term. And the former Manchester United and England defender gave his reasons why Arsenal will lift the trophy this time around.
“Last season, I think they proved everybody wrong by how close they got and they were pushing City all the way till the very end,” he said on Sky Sports.
“Arsenal, I think, I have them as title winners this season, which is an ambitious prediction.
“I just feel there’s something here. They’ve stopped conceding goals and they’ve only had 10 shots on target against them this season.”
Neville hails brutal Arteta
Arsenal spent big over the summer with the acquisition of Declan Rice from West Ham United. They also brought in goalkeeper David Raya from Brentford.
That was a move that surprised many pundits as Aaron Ramsdale had proved a reliable shot-stopper over the past two seasons.
It was thought that Raya would act as back-up to the England man.
However, he was between the posts when the Gunners beat Everton and for the 4-0 Champions League demolition of PSV.
The Spaniard was also given the nod to face Spurs and Neville was full of praise for the way Arteta handled the situation.
“I think Raya coming in is a masterstroke from Mikel Arteta,” he added. “That shows that he has got that brutal decision-making element to him.
“Aaron Ramsdale done nothing wrong, but to bring Raya in after they’ve beaten United here after the international break is a big call.’
It remains to be seen if Arteta keeps faith with Raya but he knows he has an able deputy waiting in the wings.
Neville sees Roy Keane in Rice
Neville also gave his thoughts on Rice after the club smashed their transfer record to land him during the off-season.
And the 48-year-old has likened him to one of United’s all-time greats.
“Watching him at Everton last week and watching him against Manchester United here, he has that Roy Keane ability to recover with power,” he continued.
“His power of recovery when Arsenal lose the ball to get back at people and stop counter attacks is incredible.”
Rice was withdrawn from the Arsenal side at half-time after struggling with a recurrence of a calf injury.