Gary Neville explains advantage Man Utd have in title race vs Arsenal
Manchester United V Bournemouth in pictures
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Manchester United icon Gary Neville explained how Erik ten Hag has one advantage over Mikel Arteta’s side in a potential title race, after the Red Devils defeated Bournemouth 3-0 on Tuesday evening while the Gunners dropped two points in their goalless draw with Newcastle. United are now nine points behind the table-toppers, having won each of their three Premier League games since returning from the World Cup without conceding a single goal.
Speaking after Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with Eddie Howe’s outfit, Neville felt that United have a squad with more quality in depth than the Gunners, though admitted that any talk of a potential title charge was premature. “Yeah, they’re getting stronger,” Neville said regarding United.
“I was just saying there I think they’ve got a lot more players than Arsenal and Mikel Arteta is doing an incredible job because you feel he’s so finely tuned, if he lost a centre back he’d be in trouble, whereas with United they’ve got four centre backs, that strength in depth.
“I think they’ve got a long way to go, it’s going to be a really interesting few weeks. United have got [Manchester] City next at home, then Arsenal away, which is really tough so we’ll know a lot more in a few weeks.
“Before this game tonight it was 16 games played – that is nowhere near title talk, you’re miles away, absolutely miles away. These two teams tonight, I know there’s been title talk, I didn’t see the champions here tonight, personally, but I didn’t think they were champions at the start of the season so where they are is remarkable.”
Goals from Casemiro, Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford saw United move five points clear of Tottenham in fourth, and Neville believes they should be qualifying for the Champions League this season. “Yes [I would be disappointed if Manchester United failed to get top four],” he added. “But again it’s still only 17 games gone, a long way to go, anything can happen.
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“But they just look like they’ve got something going for them, a bit of experience about the midfield – [Christian] Eriksen, Casemiro, [Bruno] Fernandes – it looks wiser, Rashford’s in form.
“They need a forward, but they’ve got forwards who are in form. They’re punching [above] their weight, defensively it doesn’t look too strong but they’re doing okay, and at the moment the manager’s got something.
“I think the spirit of coming through the situation with Cristiano Ronaldo, coming through the situation with [Harry] Maguire, coming through the difficult start to the season, they’ve probably all bonded together more than if they’d just had an ordinary, normal first five months. Erik ten Hag is in a strong position there now to call the shots, they need to get him a striker.”
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