first_imgRobin van Persie suggests Arsenal need reinforcements to fix defensive frailties after late scare at Sheffield United Advertisement Advertisement Comment Arsenal survived a late scare to beat Sheffield United in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final (Picture: Getty)Robin van Persie believes Mikel Arteta needs to find defenders who are willing to ‘die’ and put their body on the line for Arsenal like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic were prepared to do during his time at Manchester United The Gunners appeared to be cruising towards the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday afternoon as Nicolas Pepe converted a 25th-minute penalty against Sheffield United after Chris Basham’s foul on Alexander Lacazette at Bramall Lane. However, David McGoldrick capitalised on Sead Kolasinac’s poor attempted clearance to equalise in the 87th minute and give the hosts hope of securing a place at Wembley. Ceballos booked Arsenal’s place at Wembley with a late winner at Bramall Lane (Picture: Getty)But second-half substitute Dani Ceballos held his nerve in stoppage time and slotted a low strike under Dean Henderson to get the north London club out of trouble. AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENTDiscussing Arsenal’s victory with BT Sport colleague Ferdinand, Van Persie reserved special praise for Ceballos but highlighted the enormous challenge his former team-mate has ahead of him in fixing the side’s defensive problems.‘Let me start by saying that I do believe in Mikel,’ the ex-Arsenal striker said.‘I played with Mikel for one year so I know how he is as a person and I know how he was as a player. ‘He was a good player but I do believe that he can become a great manager because you can see his hand in this team. But you can also see that this team is not fully connected yet. Will Mikel Arteta be a success at Arsenal?Yes0%No0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your results‘If you look at the connection from defence to midfield to strikers it’s not moving as one so he’s still searching. ‘But I do believe that if you give him time – and he should get all the time he needs and not just months, he should get years – I do believe that he can get it right.’ Metro Sport ReporterSunday 28 Jun 2020 5:04 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link4.1kShares Arteta was delighted with the cameo display of Arsenal youngster Nketiah (Picture: Getty)Arteta singled out second-half substitute Eddie Nketiah for praise in the aftermath of Arsenal’s victory at Sheffield United.AdvertisementAdvertisementAsked about the performances of his young players, he replied: ‘They are evolving and they are really willing and they have a lot of personality to play. ‘You can see the way they played today and Eddie as well, the way he came on and how he fights with everybody, he doesn’t care, so I really like that.’More: Manchester United FCRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseEx-Man Utd coach blasts Ed Woodward for two key transfer errorsThe Spaniard was pleased with the manner of Arsenal’s win despite their late scare at Bramall Lane.‘We needed that,’ Arteta added.‘We played four away games after the coronavirus [pandemic], which is not an easy thing to do in the Premier League, and hopefully we can get some momentum going now. ‘We still have a massive gap to fill in, we have to improve in many departments a lot, we have to respect the process.‘It’s been really difficult stop-start-stop-start, but we will get it right, I’m convinced of that. We need a bit of time, that’s all.’Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For more stories like this, check our sport page.MORE: Robin van Persie delivers scathing assessment of ‘vulnerable’ David Luiz after defender signs new Arsenal dealMORE: Arsenal hero Gilberto Silva confused by ‘nervous’ Matteo Guendouzi Van Persie says set-pieces remain a major weakness for Arsenal (Picture: BT Sport)The Dutchman added: ‘What I believe is very important for Arsenal and for Mikel is that they should now finally find a way to fix the set-pieces against, corners, free-kicks because with every cross against Arsenal you’re holding your breath. ‘So how do you fix that? You fix that with mental toughness. As you know, Rio, when I played with you and Vidic, you would die to save the ball, you would put your head first and do everything to block a ball. ‘That mentality is needed to really compete for trophies and, if I’m really honest, I don’t see that at the moment and that’s not just now because we’ve talked about this for the last few months, we talked about it last year and there was an issue even in my time when I was playing there. ‘How do you solve that? You need to find it through defenders who want to do absolutely everything to block that ball and I think they should try to find those types of defenders.‘I’m not saying that these guys are bad. These guys are very good players but there’s another level up if you really want to compete and start winning trophies.’last_img