Manchester United legend Gary Neville has picked the toughest Arsenal XI he has ever faced
Neville was involved during the height of Arsenal and United’s rivalry, and was never far from any controversy that stirred up when the two faced each other.
Arsenal and United were the two dominant teams in English football, with investment in the other teams yet to come in and change the landscape into what we see today.
Neville also faced Arsenal throughout the 1990s and 2000s, and played against some of the greatest players the club has ever had.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Neville started off with David Seaman in goal, surprising no one.
Neville then picked a back four of Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Nigel Winterburn.
It is a little surprising that he has favoured Keown over Sol Campbell – who was one of the best defenders in the world at his peak. Nigel Winterburn was part of the famous George Graham back-line, but it is still a little surprising that he has been picked over Ashley Cole, who many would argue is the better left-back.
In midfield, there are no surprises. Neville picked Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars. Some would argue that Freddie Ljungberg could replace Overmars as he served longer, but Overmars was a terrifying prospect for defenders everywhere, and as he usually played on the right Neville would know exactly what he’s talking about.
Up front, it couldn’t be any other players. Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp round off Neville’s Arsenal XI, and that doesn’t really need much explanation. Henry is Arsenal’s all-time top scorer and Bergkamp is constantly included in lists of the greatest players to ever play in the Premier League, let alone Arsenal.
Neville himself had this to say about the team and his experience against Arsenal, according to Sky Sports :
“You had a group of Arsenal players, particularly that famous back five, who knew what it meant to play for Arsenal. Arsenal are the best domestic team I’ve ever faced. The 1998 team, the double-winning team, were immense.”
“It had everything you would want; power, strength, pace, organisation, good on set pieces, you couldn’t mess them around and they could play good football.”
“We both had fantastic teams, and the competitive spirit of those games was immense. They’ll go down in folklore.”
Neville’s Arsenal XI :
4-4-2 : David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Nigel Winterburn, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry