Gary Neville has showered praise on Arsenal duo – Gabriel Magalhaes and William Saliba – after the Gunners earned a 1-0 victory against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday (08 October) at the Emirates Stadium.
Gabriel Martinelli scored the only goal of the match in the 86th minute as the Gunners picked up all three points.
With this victory, the Gunners have moved to the top of the table, sharing the same points (20 points from eight games) with north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
The Sky Sports pundit believes that the Gunners have a “big chance” of winning the title and they need Declan Rice to be fit and firing all season. He suggests that Mikel Arteta will not make the mistake of dropping Gabriel again, who was “pivotal” against City.
Neville has hailed both Gabriel and Saliba as “outstanding” and says that along with Rice, these three players are key to Arsenal winning the title this season.
“I think they’ve got a big chance, Arsenal,” he told Sky Sports. They’ve got to keep their players fit. They’re 100-per-cent better with Declan Rice in the middle of the pitch, without a shadow of a doubt.
“They have to keep Rice fit, the idea of not playing Gabriel Magalhaes at the start of the season was an experiment that won’t happen again. Those two centre-halves – Gabriel and William Saliba – were pivotal against City, they were outstanding playing against the best player in the world in that position [Erling Haaland].
“The two centre-backs and Rice are the most important players to keep fit. They won’t win the league without them.”
Long way to go
These are early days in the Premier League but it already looks like it’s going to be a tough competition at the top for the Premier League title. Ange Postecoglou’s side has stunned everyone with their consistency and they are expected to create problems for others.
Man City and Liverpool are also within touching distance, and it’s difficult to predict the title race at this moment. The Gunners have a strong squad and Arteta probably will look to bolster in the January window again. Clearly, they are expected to be fighting for the title till the very end.
It’s important to have a reliable centre-back partnership, and both Saliba and Gabriel provide that safety at the back. Rice, the club-record signing, has been superb so far, and Neville is spot on that the Gunners look much better with him in the side.
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