Gary Neville names major summer signing Arteta doesn’t trust as he urges Arsenal to sign two stars

Gary Neville, Sky Sports pundit at Wembley Stadium Credit: Alamy
Gary Neville, Sky Sports pundit at Wembley Stadium Credit: Alamy

Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes Arsenal need to back Mikel Arteta in the transfer market this month if they are succeed in their mission to win a first Premier League title in 19 years.

The Gunners were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw against Newcastle on Tuesday night, with Eddie Howe’s side keeping yet another clean sheet. However, Arteta cut a frustated figure on the touchline as his side missed the chance to go 10 points clear at the top.

After the match, the Arsenal boss hit out at what he felt was a scandalous double injustice.

Truth be told, though, and Newcastle were probably good value for the draw. As a top side, Arsenal will have to get used to sides setting up defensively. And with just 11 goals conceded in 18 games, Newcastle are the meanest side in the Premier League this season.

During the match, Arteta only turned to his bench once, despite five permitted substitutes. And in calling on Takehiro Tomiyasu as a replacement for Ben White, the likes of Fabio Vieira, Marquinhos and Albert Sambi Lokonga were all unused.

And with no marquee names to call upon off the bench, Neville suggested Arsenal had ‘run out of ideas’, having had no real firepower among his options.

Both Gabriel Jesus and Emile Smith Rowe remain sidelined and Neville suggests the Gunners bench is too weak to sustain their title push.

The Gunners are pushing to sign Mykhaylo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk and he would have been a perfect player to call upon. That said, Arsenal are in growing danger of losing the player to Chelsea with transfer talks underway.

Arteta is also hoping to get his hands on a new midfielder too.

Gary Neville claims Arteta has no faith in Fabio Vieira

As a result, he is urging the Arsenal board to sanction a double January raid that he feels will aid their push. And, in assessing how Arteta used his bench on Tuesday night, he claims the Arsenal boss has no faith in summer recruit Vieira.

“The interesting thing is [Fabio] Vieira – I think he cost £34m,” Neville told Sky Sports. “Mikel Arteta clearly felt that if he were to bring him on, he would weaken the team tonight as they tried to win the game. So he hasn’t got faith in his bench to improve the team that is out there.

“They do rely on the perfect pass, the thread. They don’t have full-backs that deliver really good crosses. And they don’t have a midfield player who switches the play or puts a De Bruyne-style play.

“They’re so reliant on those short combinations, which Newcastle defended so well and so compactly and made it difficult for them. They didn’t have another plan off the bench.

“What they did tonight would have worked well against 10 to 15 teams in the league. They didn’t do badly tonight. Arsenal ran out ideas in this game. But I do think Arteta should have something more to call upon on the bench and they should go into the transfer market.”

Neville claims Arsenal need to fund the signings of their two targets if they are to win the Premier League.

“They are in a position where they can win the league here. When are they going to be in this position again? Can the board and owners find those two players that will turn that from one into three points?

Neville on Arsenal penalty appeals

“There is 21 games still to go. They will have a lot more of those where they’re going to be up against it – they might be one down and need two goals, so yeah, they need something off the bench.”

Neville also offered his thoughts on Arteta’s claims that his side were denied too obvious penalty calls.

However, the pundit is adamant the officials got the decisions right, and insists any side would have been furious had they been awarded against them.

“I thought it would have been scandalous if it had been given,” he said.

“If Arteta had lost a game via that he would be fuming. You cannot have your arms by your side when you slide in.

“That is not penalty. You go in like that to block a cross, that is not penalty in a million years. He would have been livid had that been given against Ben White, [Takehiro] Tomiyasu or Oleksandr Zinchenko.”

Fellow pundit Paul Merson agreed with Neville’s stance on the second penalty appeal. However, he felt Arsenal had a case for the first.

“I can’t make a case for it [being a penalty],” he said. “I’m disappointed if that’s given against me. I think the [Dan] Burn tug is more of a penalty for me.

“In my opinion that’s a stonewall penalty,” Merson said. “His fist is clenched. That is a foul anywhere else on the pitch. We have seen bookings for less tonight.”

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