Gary Neville has defended Unai Emery’s persistence with passing it out from the back for Arsenal and blamed Sokratis for being unable to carry it out.
As per Monday Night Football, 16/09/19, 7:14pm, Neville said that he just feels Sokratis is not of the right standard and constantly makes mistakes.
After Jamie Carragher did a more forensic analysis, Neville said: “I just think Sokratis is a poor player, he’s a poor player. That’s my problem. When the ball goes to Sokratis there, he’s got the easiest pass in the world to his full back on both occasions.
“He doesn’t even need to play it to Guendouzi. I don’t think it’s structural, I don’t think Unai Emery will change. It’s just poor execution. The dressing room today is different, Pep Guardiola has had a huge impact on European football.”
TBR’s View – Passing out from the back can work but being wedded to it isn’t helpful
Neville’s comments came as part of a longer discussion about teams playing out from the back, and whether it’s right to criticise Emery for that.
In the modern era, nearly every team wants to get to the stage where they’re doing that and doing it effectively, but in the meantime, sometimes compromises have to be made.
That can be if a game isn’t going your way, a team is hounding you or the confidence has gone somewhat. Just playing it out from the back in those circumstances is asking for trouble.
That means that either Emery or a senior player – and Arsenal’s lack of leadership is well known – should have taken the decision to play with less risk for that period of the game where Watford were on top.