Former Arsenal captain William Gallas has criticised Ben White and William Saliba for their roles in the defeat to Manchester United, insisting the Gunners need a more experienced presence at the back.
Mikel Arteta’s side fell to their first defeat of the season after a 3-1 loss at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Following Antony’s first-half opener, Buakyo Saka equalised for Arsenal during the opening 15 minutes of the second-half, a period of the match in which they largely dominated.
Marcus Rashford struck twice to kill off the game, however, with Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen finding room through the heart of Arsenal’s defence to tee-up their teammate.
Assessing the two goals, Gallas slammed a lack of communication between Saliba and White – with the latter playing at right-back that afternoon – and condemned their poor positioning for United’s third where Eriksen was given freedom to race through on goal.
‘Against Manchester United, at Old Trafford, you can’t concede those types of goals, especially the second and the third one,’ Gallas told Genting Casino.
‘That was a big mistake of Saliba and Ben White – they didn’t communicate properly and they conceded because of it. Their positioning was poor.
‘On the third goal, you’ll have to explain to me how the defensive line was so high. That was a basic mistake to make at this level. Saliba looked like he was in the position of the left back and White was isolated in the middle on his own.
‘I don’t understand why Arsenal played with a line that high when there was time for them to come back into the game – it was unnecessary to play so high. Teams should only concede this type of goal when they are chasing a game in stoppage time, not when there is 15 minutes left to play!’
While Saliba has made an instant impact following his delayed arrival in north London, Gallas insists Arsenal are still missing an ‘experienced player’ at the back, adding they must quickly learn from Sunday’s mistakes.
Gallas continued: ‘That is why I keep saying that Arsenal need an experienced player at the back. You can’t be in the situation that Arsenal were in yesterday, making costly mistakes against a big team.
‘When you play against the best teams, your defensive line needs to be compact if you want to take anything from the game.
‘Arsenal will have to be careful. I hope that they can take what happened in this game and learn from the experience.’