Gary Neville has hailed the decision Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta made to bring on Takehiro Tomiyasu for Oleksandr Zinchenko yesterday.
It was a good performance from Mikel Arteta’s side although he would have liked to put the game to bed given how much they dominated possession.
However, it was substitute Leandro Trossard who decided the contest, finishing off a nicely worked corner routine.
Everton struggled to make an impact in the attacking third, giving David Raya a relatively straightforward debut.
However, with the hosts chasing the game, they went even more direct with their attacks.
Neville has praised the decision by Arteta to bring off Oleksandr Zinchenko despite him having a great game.
The £32m Ukrainian partnered Declan Rice in midfield whenever Arsenal had the ball and looked very accomplished.
However, with an aerial bombardment in the final minutes expected, Zinchenko was replaced by Takehiro Tomiyasu who is much more useful in those situations.
Neville says Arteta made ‘really smart’ call to substitute Zinchenko
Talking about Arsenal’s performance yesterday, Neville said: “I think when you’re playing three games a week which Arsenal will be for the foreseeable future, you have to be in a position whereby when you don’t always play well, which you won’t, that you win the game and clean sheets are critical.
“What cost Arsenal at the end of last season, there were many things obviously, couple of injuries, they lost their fluidity, the tempo of their play, they gave leads away. But they were conceding goals and it undermines everything that you’re trying to do.
“And with that back four that played today, I thought [Oleksandr] Zinchenko was very good on the ball and the other three were very solid defensively.
“And then when [Takehiro] Tomiyasu comes on which I think was a really smart move by Mikel Arteta, just to give them that extra strength, they then look really solid.”
Arteta’s selection decisions have come under the spotlight since the Everton match and Neville believes bringing off Zinchenko despite his good performance made a lot of sense.
The Ukrainian is also coming back from an injury that ruled him out of much of pre-season so managing his minutes makes a lot of sense.
It wasn’t the call many were debating with David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale dominating discussions right now.
It will be interesting to see if the England international is given the nod in the Champions League on Wednesday.
If he isn’t, then it’s hard to see where he’ll be involved this season.