Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal tactics are to protect Bernd Leno and his centre-backs, claims Gary Neville

Mikel Arteta's side are unbeaten in 2020
Mikel Arteta’s side are unbeaten in 2020 (Picture: Getty)

Gary Neville has praised the start Mikel Arteta has made at Arsenal and says the Spaniard’s tactics have been designed to protect the Gunners’ shaky defence.

Arsenal are unbeaten in their last ten matches and their 3-2 win against Everton on Sunday was their third win in seven days in all competitions.

The Gunners have conceded just seven goals on that run and kept five clean sheets along the way; a marked improvement on the lack of defensive solidity that they displayed under Unai Emery.

Neville believes Arteta has designed his tactics to cover Arsenal’s deficiences in defence and though he says the Gunners have a long way to go, he’s praised the Spaniard for his bright start at the Emirates.

Arsenal have kept five clean sheets in their last ten matches
Arsenal have kept five clean sheets in their last ten matches (Picture: Getty)

‘Arsenal have threatened to be better under Mikel Arteta, with a lot of draws and perhaps they haven’t got the victories they would have wanted,’ said Neville.

‘There have been improvements in defence, up until Sunday, where they reverted to type with some really sloppy play. Everton could have scored three or four goals in that last 10 or 15 minutes.

‘We always expect a bounce from new managers. You can spot the differences in Arsenal since Arteta took over

‘Arteta is trying to build from a base whereby his team have been shambolic defensively all season, trying to correct that. You have to try and stop the conceding of goals initially

‘Arsenal are well away from getting to the top, top level, and we can’t expect too many changes overnight, just small steps in the right direction.

‘It’s key to get the right players in the right positions, and cover up the weaknesses, which is what Arteta is trying to do; play a system that covers for the fact his centre-backs still struggle defensively and his goalkeeper as well at times.’

The Gunners take a one-goal advantage into Thursday’s second leg last-32 Europa League clash against Olympiacos.

Arteta named a strong starting XI in the corresponding fixture in Athens last week and is likely to do so again as the Gunners look to book a place in the last-16.

MORE: Mohamed Salah is using Liverpool as ‘stepping stone’ to join Real Madrid or Barcelona, claims Gary Neville


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