Gary Neville is still tipping Manchester City to beat Arsenal to the Premier League title this season despite the Gunners’ form.
Premier League leaders Arsenal regained their five-point lead over second-placed Manchester City – who they have a game in hand on – by beating Manchester United 3-2 in a last-gasp victory at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
If the Gunners mirrored their results from the first half of the season in the second half of the campaign then they would be on for 100 points.
But despite their brilliant start to the Premier League campaign, former Man United defender Neville reckons Arsenal will lose out in the title race to City.
Neville said on his Sky Sports podcast: “I don’t see them going on to win the league, I still think Man City will. I feel City have a special run in them and that a point in the season will come when they’ll lose one or two matches. City will be right on their shoulders and it’ll become very difficult for them but they could win the league.
“I thought they’d be nowhere near winning the league and I can’t believe they’re even in the chat. The fact they’re in the conversation of winning the league is incredible so it’s not a negative thing for me to say that I think City will win the league as that’s what I thought at the start of the season.
“I feel City will hunt them down but they’re in with a shout which is really unbelievable for Mikel Arteta as I was really worried for him at the end of last season.”
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been criticised by some over his touchline antics with the Spaniard booked on Sunday for gesturing towards the fourth official.
Neville added: “I don’t think managers 20 years ago were as demonstrative as the ones we see today, like Conte, Klopp, Pep and Arteta.
“Those Arsenal players are going to come under significant pressure in the next 19 games which will require composure – particularly in the last 10 matches.
“When you’re going for a league title, it is going to be really pressurised for those players. They’ll require not just that passion but they’ll also require composure and some calm authority at times.
“They will need settling down. They’ve got players such as Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus who know what it’s like, they’ve been there before. It’s really exciting to think what this Arsenal team can achieve.
“They need to now go on and prove to us that they can win the title, which is going to be really tough. They’ve still got to play Manchester City twice and they’ve got them on their shoulders.
“They’re a massive powerhouse, Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. You can imagine them sitting there tonight not being too fazed by this.
“Pep Guardiola has got the mentality that Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish had – great managers and great personalities that get a bit chirpy sometimes. They can become very difficult at times when things aren’t quite going their way and they’re being questioned.
“I said on Thursday while on commentary [for Man City vs Tottenham] that it felt like sometimes these great managers get bored winning the same way. They like to try different things to prove themselves again, which involves redesigning how they see the game.
“I’ve seen that with Sir Alex Ferguson and with others. It comes from a good place but they can become quite difficult, cantankerous – and that’s where I feel Pep is at this moment. He knows there’s a fight on in this second half of the season. I do think City need to have that consistency. Arsenal have seven who have played every game but City seem to change their back four every single week.
“Sometimes that is through injury but there is a lot of tinkering going on. They’re in a proper title race here. They’ve been in them before and come through but they’re well behind here. They could be eight points behind if Arsenal win their game in hand but they still have to play them twice.
“The reason I say Arsenal won’t win the league is because they’ve not won it for 20 years and the majority of these players haven’t won it yet. They need to prove they can go through the second half of the season that they can win the league.”
After Neville’s co-commentary on the Gunners’ win over Man Utd, one Arsenal fan account on Twitter wrote: “Like this tweet if you would sign a petition to have @GNev2 banned from commentating on Arsenal games.”
To which Neville responded: “I will sign it! Thought I was fair yesterday as well” with a crying laughing emoji.
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