Gary Neville labels Arsenal coach 'nuisance' as Mikel Arteta ally masterminds Tottenham win

Arsenal manager celebrates Mikel Arteta with his coaching staff after an own goal from Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

Gary Neville has labelled Mikel Arteta's trusted ally 'a nuisance' following Arsenal's impressive performance against Tottenham. The former Manchester United defender praised Arsenal's set-piece coach Nicolas Jover after the Gunners took an early lead in Sunday's North London Derby.

Arsenal entered the match with a clear intention to put pressure on Manchester City, who faced struggling Nottingham Forest later in the day Arteta was seen jumping for joy on the sidelines when a well-executed set-piece led to the opening goal in the first half.

Bukayo Saka's cunning delivery was inadvertently deflected past his own goalkeeper by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the 15th minute, triggering ecstatic celebrations from the Arsenal bench. Amidst the jubilation, Neville quickly acknowledged Jover, dubbing the set-piece coach "a little nuisance".

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The Sky Sports commentator remarked: "They've got the first goal, Arsenal, and it has been the same Arsenal set-up all year, and it's been good all year. "Ben White the nuisance, the five big lads at the back getting across that near-post and [Takehiro] Tomiyasu does just enough."

"He just blocks Hojbjerg and he can't get a full head on it. He just glances it and the goalkeeper, Vicario, it's past him in a flash. He's no chance," Neville added, as reported by the Mirror. "Arteta jumps up and there he is, the set-piece coach. He's a little nuisance that set-piece coach, but he's damn good! ".

The day only improved for Arteta and his team when Saka doubled Arsenal's lead with a signature finish following a quick counter-attack. Jover would receive praise from Neville, once more, after Kai Havertz nodded in another corner to give the Gunners a commanding 3-0 lead just before half-time.

Commenting on Havertz's goal, Neville said: "It's getting messy for Spurs, but Arsenal are sending a message - 'over to you, Manchester City'. Set-pieces, Arsenal have been outstanding at them all season.

"In parts of the season where they weren't playing great football, it was the attacking set-pieces such a big factor. They've just got options. The delivery is perfect but there's four or five of them in there all looking like they could get a glance on it. Havertz does. He's on a dream run, the German. There he is again, the set-piece guru gets a hug [from Mikel Arteta]."

Arsenal were made to hang on in the final few minutes after Crisitain Romero clawed a goal back and Son Heung-min converted a penalty. However, the Gunners came away with a vital three points to help their title bid and keep pressure on Man City.