Gary Neville says Arsene Wenger picked hard work over talent against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and it made a huge difference for Arsenal as they battled to a deserved point.
Alexis Sanchez was left on the bench by Wenger, having played 90 minutes in Thursday’s win over Cologne and Mesut Ozil was out altogether with a knee problem.
Alex Iwobi and Danny Welbeck were the men picked to start against the champions and Neville praised the attitudes of both players, saying their disciplined performances were an example to both Sanchez and Ozil when they come back into the side.
“Arsene Wenger made a difference,” Neville told Sky Sports. “He chose attitude and hard work over talent.
“Iwobi and Welbeck did what Ozil and Sanchez didn’t do at Liverpool. They attached themselves to the two central midfielders. When I saw Xhaka and Ramsey in this team today, I thought they would get bulldozed in midfield, however, Iwobi tucked in, making Chelsea go wide and Welbeck did the same on the other side.
He added: “When you think about Ray Parlour and the job he did for Arsenal over the years of course there would have been more talented players than him but he put in the hard work and showed the right attitude.
“In big matches at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson went with Ji-sung Park and Darren Fletcher, why? Because they were the most talented players at the club? No, but because they needed to show discipline and respect for the opposition.
“Wenger chose a hard-working attitude over talent. They got into the shape and did the job that we’ve been demanding from them over the last few years.
Arsenal ended a five-match losing streak at Stamford Bridge in a game that saw them have the better chances.
But it was the Gunners’ discipline without the ball that impressed Neville and the performance should be used by Wenger as a blueprint going forward.
The former United defender said: “It’s not difficult and ultimately that video should go to Ozil and Sanchez because they do need to come back in, but if they are not going to do the job required, sit in the stands and let two players with less talent do the job you need to do in a big match.
“There’s no excuse for any player not to work back into a defensive position. The only player I saw have that luxury in 20 years was Cristiano Ronaldo and in big matches he was shoved up front.
“However, he scored 40 goals a season and United were winning things. That’s when you can get away with it. Sanchez does normally work hard but Ozil now has no excuse not to get back into his position after seeing that today.
“What Arsenal did today is show some respect at Stamford Bridge and they got the result because of that. I was delighted to see it because we’ve been crying out for it for many, many months.”
Arsenal vs W Brom
September 25, 2017, 7:00pm
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