Sunday, June 26, 2022

Arsenal should have stayed at home if they were ‘not ready for that pressure’, says Xhaka

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Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at St James’ Park means they go into the final day in fourth place, two points adrift of north London rivals Tottenham

With three points, Mikel Arteta’s men would have edged north London rivals Tottenham to fourth in just one game, but a dismal performance against Eddie Howe’s confident Newcastle put the Gunners’ once-seemingly secured Champions League hopes in smoke .

Granit Xhaka has questioned the mental toughness of his Arsenal team-mates after a 2-0 collapse at Newcastle on Monday night all but wiped out their top four hopes.

“If someone is not ready for this game, stay at home,” said the former club captain Sky Sports after the game. “Your age doesn’t matter. If you’re nervous, stay on the bench or stay home. They need people to come and play here.

“This is one of the most important games for us. We are very disappointed in the people who came here. They are sorry.”

The Swiss national player then repeated his statements in an interview BBC Sport. “If you don’t listen to the coach and do your own things, it doesn’t work,” he said.

“People always talk about leaders. We don’t play tennis, we play soccer. If someone isn’t ready for that pressure, stay home. You can’t come here and play like that.”

Short work was done with the honest verdict heaven Gary Neville. He said: “I don’t know who he’s targeting. I hope he didn’t try it with those younger players. Him?

“I can tell you that over the past four or five years he’s been a disgrace at times, recklessly sent off. He left it there in the air, there was nothing there.”

After three defeats in early April, Arsenal had bounced back impressively with a run of four wins, including victories against Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham.

But alarm bells will now be ringing in the Emirates after it shrank on Monday – just four days after Spurs rioted and won the north London derby 3-0.

“We have to deal with those nights and we didn’t deal with those nights,” Arteta said. “We haven’t been able to handle situations all season. The team has suffered a lot with injuries, but that can’t be an excuse.”

He added: “We have to put our heads down and accept that the performance is nowhere near the standard required for the Champions League.”

Heaven Expert Jamie Carragher said Arsenal’s likely failure to qualify for the Champions League in a season where they didn’t play European games midweek will cause problems in the long term.

“Yeah, it’s over and I think it’s a massive problem, not just this season,” Carragher said. “I think it’s a big problem for Mikel Arteta and this Arsenal team going forward.

“It was a big advantage for them. They’re not among the top four teams in the country, but they had an advantage over the other teams and still haven’t made it. I’m really scared for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta next season, it’s really bad tonight.

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