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Neville says Ben White did not look fit enough to make Arsenal return

Gary Neville has told Monday Night Football (broadcast on 16/5; 22:12) that he does not think that Ben White was fit enough to play as Arsenal suffered a hugely damaging loss to Newcastle at St James’ Park.

It proved to be a nightmare return for White after three games out. He was on the bench against Tottenham on Thursday. But he did not play. Nevertheless, Mikel Arteta felt that he was ready to play against the Magpies with Rob Holding suspended.

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Ultimately, Arsenal had problems dealing with Callum Wilson all night. White put the ball through his own net for the opening goal of the game. And the defence were calamitous for the second goal that clinched the contest for the Magpies.

It proved to be a torrid night for White. And that led to Neville being asked whether the England international looked fit enough to feature against Newcastle. And he suggested that Eddie Howe’s men definitely appeared to have a plan to test him and Gabriel.

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“No [he didn’t look fit]. It looked a tough game for him to come into. I don’t think he was himself. Balls were being played in behind him all the time,” he told Monday Night Football.

Ben White not fit enough for Arsenal

Of course, Arteta did not have much of a choice with Holding suspended. And there was a further blow in the first-half. Takehiro Tomiyasu came off with injury. Gabriel meanwhile, came off towards the end.

Arsenal’s defence have fallen apart at the worst possible time. And it now appears that they have left themselves with too much to do to finish in the top-four.

It will be crushing for Arsenal to throw it away at this stage of the campaign. And it perhaps highlights the amount of work still to be done on the squad over the summer.

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