Gary Neville calls out ‘strange’ Arteta decision with air of desperation that Arsenal didn’t need against Man Utd

Pundit Gary Neville

Mikel Arteta was mistaken to make three substitutions in one go during Arsenal’s defeat to Manchester United, according to Gary Neville.

Arsenal suffered their first defeat of the season on Sunday when they fell 3-1 down to Manchester United. Antony put their opponents ahead in the first half before an equaliser from Bukayo Saka on the hour mark.

But just over five minutes later, Arsenal went behind again, this time to a Marcus Rashford goal. It prompted Arteta to make a triple change within the next 10 minutes.

Off went Oleksandr Zinchenko, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Martin Odegaard at the same time. In their places, Arteta brought on Eddie Nketiah, Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe in an attacking shift.

But moments after, Manchester United extended their lead via Rashford again. Hence, Arteta’s changes may have disrupted the balance of his team – who he claimed had been dominant at stages in the match.

According to Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville, the choice to switch things up so drastically was unusual and unnecessary.

The co-commentator said: “The three substitutions at once, I thought it was strange, because it was a bit of a kitchen-sink job which you can get done on the counter-attack – which they did.

“I don’t think they needed to do that in the game. There was still 20 minutes in the game. They were still working chances. Manchester United’s goal on the counter was against the run of play.

“Then all of a sudden the game became easier for Manchester United than Arsenal with those subs.”

Gary Neville questions ‘so desperate’ Arteta decision

Earlier, while commentating on Rashford’s second goal, Neville had opined: “You have to say when Mikel Arteta made those substitutes, I either thought it’d be a 5-1 or a 3-2 because it looked so bold. But the space that Christian Eriksen has is absolutely incredible.

“Arsenal, did they need to go so desperate so early? It’s onside. Eriksen’s onside, Rashford’s onside.

“There’s bold but I have to say, this could be four or 5-1 or it could just be a mess for United the other way and Arsenal could score two or three. It looks like it’s going to be the former.”

In the end, Manchester United settled for a 3-1 win, which is their fourth victory in a row in the Premier League. Arsenal, meanwhile, have tasted defeat for the first time since the start of the campaign.

Arteta might have to make better judgements to ensure a revival of their fortunes at the earliest opportunity.

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