Neville identifies key weakness in Arsenal backline which could cost them in title race

Gary Neville has claimed that Arsenal’s handling of set-piece situations could prove to be costly in the second half of the season.

Everton managed to cause plenty of problems from crosses into the box and they eventually took the lead through James Tarkowski, who headed home a corner.

Arsenal have only conceded from a set-piece situation on three occasions this season, but Neville believes that it could be their undoing.

“It did worry me a little bit, your handling of set-pieces, not just that but your handling of crosses into the box,” he told The Overlap.

“It worried me a little bit in the sense of how you dealt with them. I think if other clubs, particularly when you go away from home because at home I think you’ll manage teams and keep them away from your goal.

“Once other teams, analysts and coaches see a potential weakness, you are going to have to nip that in the bud.

“But if you see something like at Goodison Park, you were put under pressure by those crosses that were going in, the chances they had with the headers. Doucoure had one, then Onana had one as well didn’t he? Calvert-Lewin.

“Then there was the goal from the set-piece, you’ll just have to nip that in the bud because if you start conceding from crosses and set-pieces, you’ll have to nip that in the bud in your next away game.”

Arsenal face Brentford next in the Premier League who are bound to cause Mikel Arteta’s side some problems.

Brentford have scored eight goals from set-piece situations this season and are one of the best sides in the league when it comes to this.

Arteta will be keen to bounce back, but he will be cautiously aware of the threat that Brentford will pose.

As Manchester City weren’t able to take advantage of Arsenal’s slip, the Gunners remain five points clear at the top of the Premier League with a game in hand.

Despite sharing his concerns about Arsenal, Neville does now believe that they are capable of winning the league.

He added: “Do you know something, we were at the City game on Sunday and when the team came through I thought for the first time that Arsenal could win the league.

“And that’s not looking smart after the event because City had lost, but I just thought he [Guardiola] is messing around, he’s tinkering far too much.

“I don’t know why Kevin De Bruyne isn’t playing, I don’t know why Ilkay Gundogan is not playing, I don’t know why Ruben Dias is not back in the centre of that defence with Aymeric Laporte to make them solid.

“I saw the team and I thought, from the point of view of my prediction – which is that City will catch Arsenal – I was less sure on Sunday than I’ve ever been.”

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Author: editor

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