Gary Neville insists Arsenal’s request to postpone north London derby ‘COST’ them in top-four fight
Gary Neville insists Arsenal’s request to postpone the North London derby ‘COST’ the Gunners in their bid to qualify for the Champions League with rivals Tottenham now in the driving seat to finish in the top four.
- Last week’s North London derby was scheduled for January 16.
- Arsenal’s wish for the match to be postponed due to Covid-19 was fulfilled
- Tottenham beat Arsenal 3-0 with the Gunners too since losing to Newcastle
- Gary Neville feels the decision cost Arsenal in their fight for top four
- Arsenal now rely on Norwich to beat Tottenham for any chance
Gary Neville believes Arsenal shot themselves by asking for last week’s rearranged North London derby to be postponed.
Their top-four clash with Tottenham was due to take place on January 16, before the Gunners requested a postponement due to positive Covid-19 cases in the squad, injuries and players out of international duty.
Arsenal suffered a heavy 3-0 loss to their rivals last Thursday, which saw them lose control of the race to qualify for the Champions League after a 2-0 loss to Newcastle on Monday.
Arsenal have slipped out of the top four after back-to-back defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle.
Last week’s North London derby defeat to Tottenham was due to take place in January before Arsenal requested the game be postponed due to positive Covid-19 cases.
The Sky Sports pundit believes the decision to postpone the match “cost” Arsenal in their quest to qualify for Europe’s most prestigious competition for the first time in six years.
In a tweet on Tuesday, the Sky Sports pundit wrote: ‘Cancelling that NLD game has cost Arsenal.
“They hadn’t recovered at all since Thursday and if this loss had been earlier in the season they would have been saved.”
This is not the first time that Neville has criticized Arsenal for postponing the match.
Gary Neville criticized the decision at the time and now feels it has ‘cost’ Arsenal in the top four
Neville tweeted that Arsenal would have had time to recover if they lost to Spurs in January.
Before the Premier League granted Arsenal’s request, Neville criticized the suspension of matches.
“Honestly, I think every team, not just in the Premier League but in the EFL now, needs to play their games,” Neville told Sky Sports.
‘Balogun has gone on loan, Maitland-Niles has gone on loan, Xhaka has a red card, that’s nobody else’s fault. We cannot cancel accessories.
“If it was purely because of Covid in extraordinary circumstances and there were 10 or 15 players out,” he added.
“But now we’re talking about teams in the last couple of weeks where there’s no question they’ve been canceling games based on whether they think they have the best team or team to win a game. It has to stop.
Neville insisted he was not singling out Arsenal as the sole culprit, but believed his request ahead of the North London derby should be turned down.
“And I have to say that this is not a jab at Arsenal,” he said. He should have spoken three or four weeks ago. Manchester United, other teams, they have 30 or 40 players in their team, I don’t want them not to be able to have 14, 15, 16 players together.
Mikel Arteta’s side now rely on Norwich to produce a big upset against Tottenham
A statement from the Premier League on the morning of the match said it had been canceled because the Gunners had fewer players available than required for a match, which is 13 outfield players and one goalkeeper.
However, Arsenal had been suffering with a series of injuries including Emile Smith Rowe, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Cedric Soares, while Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Nicholas Pepe and now Barcelona star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were out. service in the African Cup of Nations.
Arteta’s side went into their clash with Newcastle under immense pressure, after Tottenham overtook them in the standings on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Burnley.
However, Arsenal put in a disappointing performance against the Magpies and, although only 2–0, they were handily beaten.
The Gunners are now confident that already relegated Norwich beat Tottenham on the final day of the season to have any chance of breaking into the top four.