“He’s let them down a fair few times” – Michael Owen slams Arsenal star who ‘doesn’t learn’ for his antics after Newcastle defeat

Owen slams the Swiss midfielder's comments
Owen slams the Swiss midfielder's comments
Matthew Guyett

Liverpool legend Michael Owen has criticized Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka following the midfielder's honest assessment of his side's loss to Newcastle United.

The Gunners suffered a capitulation against Newcastle on May 16, losing 2-0 to the Magpies and all but ending their hopes of a top-four finish.

Arsenal went into the game against Newcastle knowing a victory would put them in pole position to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since 2016.

But Mikel Arteta's side were dismal, and Xhaka condemned his teammates after the defeat.

The Swiss midfielder told Sky Sports (via Telegraph):

“We need people who have the balls, sorry to say that, to come here and play. Because we knew this game was one of the most important games for us.”

But Owen has hit out at Xhaka, saying that the 29-year-old has himself let the Gunners down this season.

He told Premier League Productions (via Football London):

"As you say, Granit Xhaka coming out and he’s let them down a fair few times over the years. Getting silly sending offs. Left them in the lurch. So he doesn’t learn his lesson either."

Owen concluded:

“If he’s the captain, then he’s not showing a great example, is he, to those young players he is supposedly having a go at.”
"If someone isn't ready for this game, stay at home" Granit Xhaka says the Arsenal players didn't deserve to be on the pitch today 😓

Arsenal legend Ian Wright also slams Granit Xhaka for post-match comments

Xhaka's comments have been met with backlash
Xhaka's comments have been met with backlash

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright was also critical of the Swiss midfielder's post-match comments.

He told Premier League Matchday Extra (via HITC):

“Seeing a player coming out and saying ‘they didn’t listen to the coach’s instructions’ is a very strange interview from Granit Xhaka.”
“I felt it’s the kind of talk you want before the game. It’s very easy to say afterwards because, the Tottenham game, you come out and say it then."

He added:

“To say it now, I don’t think it helps anybody – it’s very magnanimous of him to come out be honest. That’s the kind of talk you want in the dressing room for them to understand when you go out there, then you know what you need to do."
“Afterwards, it probably makes people upset, especially when you aren’t naming names.”
So let’s take a look at how Newcastle United pressed Arsenal. ASM & Almiron were responsible for Arsenal’s CBs whilst Wilson and Bruno Guimaraes picked up Xhaka & Elneny. Blocking off the middle.Longstaff covered Tavares (LB) and Joelinton covered Odegaard & Tomiyasu.

Criticism of the Gunners man seems a tad harsh given that the midfielder was reacting to what was a demoralizing defeat against Newcastle. It showed honesty and acceptance that the performances of the north London side were not up to standard.

As for Xhaka's contribution this season, he has had a fine season at the heart of Mikel Arteta's midfield.

He has made 29 appearances, scoring one goal and contributing two assists. He does have two red cards to his name but with only one coming in the Premier League.

With one game remaining, their fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur now look likely to finish fourth. Antonio Conte's side are fourth in the table, two points above fifth-placed Arsenal with one game to go. Spurs play the already relegated Norwich City whilst Arsenal face Everton, who are embroiled in a relegation battle.

Edited by Puranjay Dixit


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