Arsene Wenger was criticised by the former Manchester United legend, Gary Neville, over the lack of ‘powerful signings’ in the last few years, earlier this week.
During this week’s Monday night football with Sky, Neville claimed that Arsenal are in desperate need of a powerful presence in the middle of the park if they are to replicate their past success.
Gary Neville stated that Arsene Wenger is ‘arrogant or naive’ if he thinks he can win the league with the likes of Wilshere, Cazorla, Coquelin and Ozil in the midfield. The former Manchester United star claimed that Arsenal need a player with drive and tenacity, much like former captain, Patrick Vieira.
Speaking to the press ahead of the Newcastle trip, Arsene Wenger has hit out over Neville’s claims, saying that it is ‘dangerous’. Further, Wenger also pointed out that Coquelin has one of the best defensive statistics in Europe and that Arsenal’s defensive numbers since the start of the year are immaculate.
He said: ‘I think we have had that debate for a long time now – “Arsenal does not buy defensive players” — but Coquelin has the best defensive statistics and numbers in Europe.
‘Defensively, Coquelin is doing a great job. Since January, we have conceded fewer goals than anybody else.
‘Look, I am not against opinion. People can say they don’t think Arsenal is good enough. I accept that. But it is dangerous to say “He will never be a player” — especially when the comment has come from people in football.’
Time will tell if Gary Neville or Arsene Wenger is right, but judging by the evidence over the last few years, Arsene Wenger’s side have definitely lacked power and presence in the middle, especially against the elite sides.
It will be interesting to see how Arsenal perform this season with Coquelin and whether they can finally mount a meaningful title challenge.