Neville questions Arsenal's big-game mentality

The former Manchester United player thinks Arsene Wenger’s men may not be switched on mentally ahead of the key clash with their title rivals

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville believes Arsenal may be guilty of failing to focus properly ahead of important matches as his old club prepare to face them on Sunday.

Arsene Wenger’s men have not beaten United in the Premier League since May 2011, a run of eight games stretching back to the infamous 8-2 thrashing the Gunners suffered at Old Trafford in August that year.

And Neville, a decorated United stalwart as a player, has doubts over the Gunners’ mental state as they seek to bounce back from a chastening 3-2 Champions League loss to Olympiacos in midweek.

“If I’m Per Mertesacker this weekend, on the Friday morning before a Sunday game of this magnitude I would be thinking, ‘I need to communicate to Hector Bellerin that Memphis Depay will always try to cut inside on to his right foot, and that I need to be there inside to help him, although I need Bellerin to show him the outside’,” Neville wrote in The Daily Telegraph.

“‘Is Bellerin thinking he has to stay tight to Memphis, and to pull Aaron Ramsey back towards him, so that I don’t get exposed by Anthony Martial in a channel one on one for pace?’

“I may be wrong, but I sense that Arsenal players go into training on Friday morning thinking about how they’ll pass the ball, score with a bicycle kick, how much fun they are going to have.

“On Saturday morning they still might not be switched on. Sunday morning is too late. It’s fatal to think like that before a big game.”

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