Gary Neville welcomed the return of Arsenal’s invincible spirit but Mikel Arteta insisted they must remain composed in the title race.

Gary Neville believes we are seeing the “Arsenal of 20 years ago” – when Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles ruled English football – after another seismic result in a pulsating title race.

Mikel Arteta saw his Arsenal side re-establish their five-point cushion at the top of the Premier League with a 3-2 win over Manchester United – but insisted a successful title tilt will “demand almost perfection” for the rest of the campaign.

The Gunners are now unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League games, their longest unbeaten streak in the competition since 14 in December 2018.

“I really enjoyed it,” Neville said on his recent podcast Sky Sports. “I just felt in the last half hour, Arsenal have more quality.

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Free to watch: Highlights from Arsenal’s win against Manchester United in the Premier League

“It felt like Arsenal were 20 years ago. When I was a player against them, I wanted them to shoot from distance or cross it – but they would play that extra pass and get into wide positions.

“They keep driving you into your box. I find myself deep, narrow and under pressure. It just felt like the goal was coming. It was wave after wave of attacks, and it felt like 20 years ago. You were playing against such a good Arsenal team. “

Arsenal now have 50 points from their opening 19 games and with five of the last six champions having passed 90 points, Arteta knows they must continue their electrifying run of form.

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Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka give their thoughts after Arsenal beat Manchester United in dramatic fashion

Now is the time to stay warm.

Earlier in January, Arteta would not have been drawn at full-time against Tottenham when a brawl between Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and Spurs forward Richarlison ended with a fan kicking Ramsdale before returning to the crowd.

So, he instead emphasized the importance of his players keeping their heads during the fiery contest, which saw defender Rob Holding leave less than half an hour into their defeat at Spurs in May.

Arsenal have 50 points after 19 games
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Arsenal have 50 points after 19 games

Arsenal’s temperament will be tested in the second half of the campaign, but Neville believes Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko – ironically from Man City – will give Arteta’s side the experience they need to probe.

“I don’t think the managers of 20 years ago were the performers we see today like Conte, Klopp, Pep and Arteta,” Neville said when asked about the Arsenal manager’s touchline theatrics, which earned him a caution from referee Anthony Taylor.

“Those Arsenal players will come under significant pressure in the next 19 games who will need composure – especially in the last 10 games.

Eddie Nketiah celebrates his late winner with fellow goalscorer Bukayo Saka
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Nketiah celebrates his late winner with fellow goalscorer Saka

“When you’re going for the league title, it’s really going to be under pressure for those players. Not only do they need that passion but they need composure and calm authority at times.

“They need to settle down. They have players like Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus who know what it’s like, they’ve been there before. It’s really exciting to think what this Arsenal team can achieve.

“They have to go on now and prove to us that they can win the title, which will be really difficult. They still have two more games against Manchester City and they have them on their shoulders.

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Haag was frustrated with his side’s late display at Arsenal and criticized their defensive performance.

“They’re a massive powerhouse, Manchester City and Pep Guardiola. You can imagine they’re not going to be too fazed by it tonight.”

Heading into the weekend, Pep Guardiola questioned the passion of his players after the 4-2 win over Tottenham and said Arsenal would “destroy” them in the Premier League title race if they continued to play as they did.

City cruised to a 3-0 win over Wolves courtesy of Erling Haaland’s fourth Premier League hat-trick of the season – and Neville believes Arsenal will ultimately come up short despite their current five-point advantage.

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Despite criticism of Manchester United’s defending, Roy Kane was full of praise for Saka.

“I don’t see them trying to win the league, I still think Man City will. I think City have made a special run at them and there will come a point in the season when they lose a game or two. City will be right on their shoulders and that’s a lot for them. It will be difficult but they can win the league.

“I thought they weren’t close to winning the league and I can’t believe they’re even in the chat. The fact that they’re in the conversation to win the league is unbelievable so it’s not a negative thing for me to say. I think City will win the league which I thought at the start of the season. .

“I think City will look for them but they are screaming which is really unbelievable for Mikel Arteta because I was worried for him at the end of last season.”

Neville: Nketiah deserves an England call-up

Eddie Nketiah roars in celebration after equalizing for Arsenal against Manchester United
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Niketia celebrates after equalizing against Arsenal

Eddie Nketiah has scored 19 goals in his last 26 starts for Arsenal in all competitions, including 13 goals in his last 13 starts at the Emirates Stadium.

“An England call-up for Eddie Nketiah is pending,” Neville added. “Gareth Southgate is very good at allowing players to see out their U21 career and bring them into the first team very quickly.

“But Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s form is not there at the moment, Callum Wilson is good but will he be there for the next four or five years? We know Harry Kane is great but there is a lack of centre-forwards. Marcus Rashford is playing wide and I think He will stay there.

“Erik ten Haag wants him to stay there so he’s got a real opportunity, but the best thing Nketiah can do at the moment is contribute to this Arsenal team and this very special run that they’re on and they’re having a special season.”

Arteta praised Arsenal’s first half of the season

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Gunners manager Mikel Arteta has described the win over Manchester United as “unbelievable and emotional”.

The win took Arsenal to 50 points from the opening 19 games of the campaign – a record for the club at this stage of the season – eclipsing Arsene Wenger’s unbeaten run by five points.

“Extraordinary,” Arteta replied when asked about his thoughts on the first half of the campaign.

“It doesn’t get much better than that. We deserved the points we had. I think we played well enough to win most of the games.

“But the reality is we have some things we can get better at. Attacking and defending in transition. That’s the goal.”

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Roy Kane says defeat to Arsenal was a ‘reality check’ for Manchester United and they are not yet ready to compete in the Premier League.

Arteta, who worked as Pep Guardiola’s assistant before taking over the captaincy at the Emirates Stadium, will now lead his side to face City in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday night.

They still have two league meetings to come and Arteta believes everyone in the division is still playing against City.

“I know my team very well,” he added. “They’re good enough to play against these teams and they’ve done it. We talked about it the last two or three days.

“We know our reality, we know how much we have to improve, we know what has brought us to where we are today and we have to reinforce it every day.

“I know where we are, I know why we are here and I know where we want to be and we are far from it.

“I know the level of other teams and especially the wins in the last five or six years and we’re not there yet.”

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