Gary Neville has questioned the leadership of Martin Odegaard and three of his senior Arsenal team-mates after they failed to provide ‘guidance’ to ‘the younger stars’ at a crucial time in the season.
The Gunners have dropped nine points from their last four games and are now just two points above Manchester City, who have two games in hand and are now on course to win the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta’s side were torn apart at the Etihad on Wednesday by title rivals, with Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland let loose in the 4-1 win.
And Neville believes Odegaard, along with Oleksandr Zinchenko, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka, have let their teammates down in recent weeks.
Continuing to talk The Overlay, Neville said: “I look at Martin Odegaard, a fantastic professional. Oleksandr Zinchenko, great professional. But when you actually get to the moments of maximum pressure in the most important games at the crucial moment of the season, then are they the leaders?
“Arsenal’s senior players, Partey, Zinchenko, Odegaard, at their toughest time – when those younger players like Saka and Martinelli needed that guidance, Jesus needed to be told to stop running and stand up front and be really disciplined in the way you play – they didn’t affect the rest of their team mates on the pitch I don’t think. Indeed, they contributed to the difficulties they were having in matches.
“Xhaka at Anfield [referring to the incident with Trent Alexander-Arnold ]Partey’s performances in recent games, I think Zinchenko also gave away a goal in a game – the Liverpool game and possibly West Ham too – and Odegaard also had arguably his toughest game against Manchester City.
“And then if you think about the meeting that Zinchenko had [against Southampton ] and then Odegaard came up and said: «Break up.» So those four players who are the leaders of that team haven’t been able – at a time when those younger players needed it – to really hold them together and keep them calm and composed. This has been evident to me in recent weeks.
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