Ian Wright urges Mikel Arteta to play Reiss Nelson ahead of Willian for Arsenal’s clash with Tottenham

Ian Wright is keen for Reiss Nelson to start for Arsenal against Tottenham
Ian Wright is keen for Reiss Nelson to start for Arsenal against Tottenham (BBC)

Ian Wright has urged Mikel Arteta to play Reiss Nelson ahead of Willian on Arsenal’s right flank for their derby against Tottenham on Sunday.

Willian made an encouraging start with two assists on his debut for Arsenal but the 32-year-old has registered just one more in the following 11 appearances since that 3-0 win over Fulham in September.

Nelson, meanwhile, has made just two appearances as a substitute in the Premier League this season, although he has shown signs of promise with his performances in the Europa League against Dundalk and Molde.

Wright has now called on Arteta to change up his attack ahead of the Gunners’ trip to Tottenham this weekend.

And the former Arsenal striker believes Willian has been ‘negative’ in the way he has played in recent weeks.

‘I’d try to throw something else into the mix, Reiss Nelson or even [Bukayo] Saka on the right,’ Wright said on Ringer FC’s ‘Wrighty’s House’ podcast.

Willian has registered just three assists in the Premier League for Arsenal
Willian has registered just three assists in the Premier League for Arsenal (Getty)

‘But Saka’s going to be on the left so I’d put Reiss Nelson on the right instead of Willian because we know what Willian’s going to do.

‘For me he’s been a little bit negative with the way he’s been playing, a lot of backwards passing.

‘You need somebody who can at least get back and progress the ball.

‘If Saka can go and really put pressure on [Serge] Aurier, that’s where I think if we’re going to get any kind of joy then I think Saka’s got to go up there and put pressure on him, then [Granit] Xhaka can pull in on the left, just to put that body in there then [Mohamed] Elneny should hold.’

Reiss Nelson has not started a game for Arsenal in the Premier League this season
Reiss Nelson has not started a game for Arsenal in the Premier League this season (Getty)

Wright also admitted that he is ‘afraid’ for Arsenal ahead of their first clash of the season against Jose Mourinho’s side.

‘Going into the north London derby, I’m always nervous about it simply because for me it is one of the best games, I enjoyed everything about it,’ said the former Arsenal striker.

‘And when I went to Arsenal it was the game which meant the most to the fans and at the time to the players because we had a lot of players who came through that derby from the age of nine or 10.

‘This is the first one I’m going to where I am afraid.

‘I’m afraid simply because of where Tottenham are at the moment and we can’t ignore where they are at the moment, they’re in the ascendency.

‘When you look at what we’re doing at the moment we’re still trying to be finding something – is he going to play four at the back or three? Who’s going to pick up their players.

‘This is as afraid as I’ve been for a north London derby as I’ve been for a while and they’ve got Mourinho managing them. He wants to embarrass us.’

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