Gary Neville on how Arsenal lacked strength against Chelsea
Last Updated: 05/02/17 12:04am
Gary Neville says Arsenal are not equipped to win big title tussles against teams like Chelsea - and have not been for several years.
The Sky Sports pundit watched Arsene Wenger's side lose 3-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday to fall 12 points behind their opponents in the Premier League title race.
Goals from Marcos Alonso, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas sealed a comfortable victory for Chelsea, and despite Olivier Giroud's late consolation, Neville said Arsenal did not do enough to deal with the attacking power of their opponents.
And he argued that the Arsenal sides that won the Premier League in 1998, 2002 and 2004 were physically and mentally stronger.
Speaking at the end of his commentary, he said: "It just feels like the same. Not strong enough, not resilient enough, not powerful enough and not good enough ultimately to compete in a match of this nature in an important part of the season when they can apply a bit of pressure to their rivals. They have fallen well short.
"I'm not one to look back to yesteryear, but when you think of the spine of Adams and Keown or Vieira and Petit that really could have handled a game like today against a powerful, strong Chelsea team.
"They are a million miles away from that in terms of their ability to produce that type of performance. They just haven't got enough meat in the team to be able to deal with the power, strength and shrewdness.
"You have to stop the opposition team playing football. This Arsenal team, for the past five or six years, just don't seem to pay enough attention to it."
Speaking on the Gary Neville Podcast at full-time, he added: "Men against boys is a cliché that's used too much, but there are far too many times over the years that we've watched this type of game involving Arsenal.
"You think they are just falling short. They are just not equipped.
"Physically and mentally, are they equipped to be able to handle this game? To see the dangers and recognise what part of the game they are in? When they have to attack and when they have to defend?
"The full-backs' positions, in not attending to the counter-attacks of Pedro and Eden Hazard, was alarming, and that's just being shrewd.
"They are not a shrewd team, I have to say. They've got a lot of players who prefer to only think about the attacking side of the game.
"With Chelsea, you get the feeling they know exactly what to do in attack, on the ball and in defence."
Neville says Arsenal are now out of the title race and face a battle to finish in the top four this season.
But while he said they lacked the strength to challenge the very best teams, he did not want to be overly critical of their performance.
"Arsenal weren't bad today," he added. "I couldn't look out there and say that they were terrible in any particular area.
"I was disappointed with the forward players in terms of their impact on the game. I thought they could do more, but it's difficult to play against this Chelsea team. They are a blue wall with no space.
"But they are not equipped to be able to handle the might and strength and power and tactical discipline and shrewdness of an opponent like Chelsea."