Gary Neville has admitted that the plans for the trip to Arsenal, had left him “stunned” after they flew in to Manchester three hours before kick-off against City on Wednesday night.
The team of Mikel Arteta enjoyed a meal before the game at Stansted airport before flying to the north just after 17 hours in the weather conditions horrible to face Pep Guardiola.
Their match at the Etihad stadium started at 20: 15 and it has been a case of soggy due to stormy conditions terrible around Manchester throughout the evening.
Gary Neville has been “stunned” by the call of Arsenal to go to Manchester three hours before kick-off
Goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez has posted this photo with Gabriel Martinelli on the flight to the north
Speaking on the commentary from Sky Sports with Martin Tyler, Neville has admitted that he could not believe that the decision had been made to fly so close to start.
He said: “I was stunned when I heard their plans to travel, I have to be honest.
“A plane three hours before kick-off, I thought I was more at risk of the weather that we have at the moment, the storm.
Neville has also speculated that flying at this time could cause physical problems to the players after the Gunners have lost Granit Xhaka and Pablo Husband to an injury in the first 20 minutes.
He added: “Obviously, I don’t think it is ideal to fly on a plane three hours before kick-off.
“It was the time of the trip that I was the more alarmed, being so close to the kick-off.”
Flight records show that the aircraft Arsenal took off from Stansted at 17: 03 and landed at Manchester at 17: 38.
Their aircraft, an Avro RJ85 which can accommodate up to 112 people, has then moved to the Liverpool John Lennon airport between 18: 39 and 18: 54.
The side of Arteta travelled to Merseyside to take his return flight home, departing at 12: 54 Thursday morning and arriving in Stansted at 1: 31.
Neville has been speculated that flying at this time could cause physical problems to the players
The Gunners have lost Granit Xhaka (pictured) and Pablo Husband because of an injury in the first 20 minutes
In the Times, the former striker irish Tony Cascerino also stated that the flight late was not an “ideal preparation” before a big game.
He wrote: “Apparently, the theft of Arsenal has left Stansted that about three hours before the match at the Etihad stadium, which leaves very late in the day – any hiccup and you get closer to the kick-off.
“It is difficult to know if this was a factor for two of their players suffering from injury early, but I don’t think it was ideal preparation. “
Xhaka is off on a stretcher after an injury early, while Mari stopped in the middle of the first halftime, while he also saw his return to action interrupted.
“They are being assessed at this time and we will know something more likely tomorrow morning,” said Arteta afterwards.
“Pablo was not really good, to be fair. “
Raheem Sterling opened the score in a victory at home routine for City, with the penalty of Kevin de Bruyne and the strike late Phil Foden completing a 3-0 win.
David Luiz has also been expelled the night miserable for Arsenal, after also gave City their first goal and conceded a penalty kick for the second.
Fans of social media have also referred to the Gunners for their preparations before the match less than ideal.
@ LeeTurn71 was one of those people, stating: “Arsenal is like a team of pub to the most rich of all time. Take a flight in three hours of KB against the current champions, two players fall injured clearly not prepared for this match and I thought that it was the first team return to training. Become a joke of a club. Probably losing the best player “.
@ ioreilly85 added: “A flight 3 hours before a big game would certainly not players. Already two injuries for Arsenal ‘.
@glennebrey has tweeted: “The fact that Arsenal have been flying 17 hours from Stansted for this game seems crazy … but I guess they can really go nowhere if they get there earlier, isn’t it? Apart from getting to the ground very early.