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Gary Neville questions Mikel Arteta substitutions in Manchester United defeat

Gary Neville questions Mikel Arteta substitutions in Manchester United defeat

Gary Neville has criticised Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta for his use of substitutes in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United.

With Arsenal trailing 2-1 and less than 20 minutes remaining, the Arsenal head coach opted to make a triple substitution, introducing Emile Smith-Rowe, Fabio Vieira and Eddie Nketiah to replace Martin Odegaard, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Arteta’s attacking changes did not pay off as United exploited the space in the Arsenal defence to wrap up the three points with Marcus Rashford‘s second goal of the game.

Speaking to Sky Sports following the Premier League encounter, Neville criticised Arteta’s decision to make the substitutions in the 74th minute.

The former United player said: “At 2-1, there was no need to go so desperate, so early. With 20 minutes to go, I thought ‘this could be 4-1 or 5-1’.

“United actually went more solid, Fred and Casemiro came on. And they just counter-attacked off the back of that. I don’t think they needed to go so desperate.

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“What shocked Arsenal, was that second goal going in. It came against the run of play and Arsenal did not handle that point in the game well.

“They deserved to lose the game, because they never handled that second goal going in. Arsenal, if they kept on playing the way they were, they’d have got back into the game.

“As soon as they lost their shape with all those substitutions, United were always going to score that third on the counter-attack.”

The former England right-back also questioned whether Arsenal can continue the form that helped them win all five Premier League games before the defeat at Old Trafford.

Neville added: “Last year, Arsenal, that lack of maturity was the question. They showed in that last 20 minutes a lack of maturity, no doubt.

“I thought they were really good today. I like watching them, they’re better than last season. But against Tottenham last season near the end, they got played a little bit. In that last 20 minutes today, there was naivety.”

Despite losing 3-1, the Gunners remain one point clear at the top of the Premier League ahead of Thursday’s away trip to face FC Zurich in the Europa League group stage.

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