Gary Neville and Ian Wright have entered a war of words over whether or not the Premier League should postpone the North London Derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal.
Sunday’s match at Spurs hangs in the balance after Arsenal requested the clash be postponed on Friday evening, claiming not to have enough players available to field a full squad.
Former Manchester United captain Neville blasted the Gunners’ application that night as it is mostly down to injuries and players away at the Africa Cup of Nations, but the Sky Sports pundit has been met with backlash from ex-Arsenal striker Wright.
In response to Neville’s tweet reaffirming his view that games should be forced to go ahead “from now on” unless there is a significant Covid-19 outbreak, Wright wrote : “FROM NOW ON [with a laughing emoji]”
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“It’s not about Arsenal or the fans. It’s about no more Super Sunday on Sky!”
Neville fired back : “It’s not Ian [with a confused emoji].”
The player-turned-pundit had previously tweeted: “I repeat this is not about Arsenal but all teams should be made to play from now on in the PL and EFL.
“Also why has the decision been delayed until today when the request was last night at 6.30pm? Fans will be setting off from all over the place and will be in limbo!”
Speaking in depth on Friday evening after news of the request had broke, Neville was critical of Arsenal, telling Sky Sports : “[Folarin] Balogun’s gone on loan, [Ainsley] Maitland-Niles has gone on loan, Xhaka’s got a red card – that’s not the fault of anybody else.
“We can’t be calling fixtures off. If it was purely down to Covid and extraordinary circumstances where there were 10 or 15 players out [it would be acceptable].
“But, we’re now talking about teams in the last few weeks where there’s no doubt they’ve been calling games off whether they think they’ve got the best squad or best team to win a game.”
(Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images))
Earlier on Friday, manager Mikel Arteta had claimed that the Gunners’ intention was to play but admitted that he was unsure whether the grudge match, which could be crucial in the race to finish 4th and qualify for the Champions League, would go ahead.
“I don’t know, it’s difficult to say that with total honesty without assessing our players,” Arteta explained.
“What is today very unlikely, tomorrow is likely to happen. It’s gone the other way for us when we were ready to play a match and it was cancelled twice because the other team had issues so it can go both ways. But our intention is always to play.”