Arteta took over at the Emirates in December after the sacking of Unai Emery and inherited a side with a poor defensive record.
And despite conceding two sloppy goals in their 3-2 win over Everton on Sunday, Neville insists Arteta has done well to provide cover for the centre-backs.
“Arsenal have threatened to be better under Mikel Arteta, with a lot of draws and perhaps they haven’t got the victories they would have wanted,” said Neville, reported the Mirror.
“There have been improvements in defence, up until Sunday, where they reverted to type with some really sloppy play. Everton could have scored three or four goals in that last 10 or 15 minutes.
“We always expect a bounce from new managers. You can spot the differences in Arsenal since Arteta took over.”
“Arteta is trying to build from a base whereby his team have been shambolic defensively all season, trying to correct that. You have to try and stop the conceding of goals initially.
“Arsenal are well away from getting to the top, top level, and we can’t expect too many changes overnight, just small steps in the right direction.
“It’s key to get the right players in the right positions, and cover up the weaknesses, which is what Arteta is trying to do; play a system that covers for the fact his centre-backs still struggle defensively and his goalkeeper as well at times.”
Arsenal host Olympiacos on Thursday night with a 1-0 lead from the first leg of their Europa League tie.