Granit Xhaka blasts his teammates as Arsenal’s Champions League hope slips away… Can Arsenal finish in the top four?


    Arsenal’s defensive midfielder, Granit Xhaka could not hide how frustrated he was after his team lost to Newcastle United on Monday, May 16, 2022, to put Tottenham Hotspur in the driver’s seat in the top four race.

    On the said date, Arsenal visited St James’ Park to take on Newcastle United in a must-win 37th league game of the season. Unfortunately, Coach Mikel Arteta and his boys put up a very poor performance which Newcastle United capitalized on to defeat their visitors 2-0.

    Things were so bad for the Gunners that Arsenal’s Ben White scored an Own Goal in the 55th minute which was the opening goal of the match. To make things worse for the Gunners, Newcastle United’s 24-year-old defensive midfielder Bruno Guimarães made it 2-0 in the 85th minute.

    Can Arsenal still qualify for the Champions League ahead of the 2022-2023 season?

    Newcastle United’s 2-0 win over Arsenal on Monday, May 16, means that Tottenham Hotspur are currently in control of the top four race between the two north London teams. This is so because Arsenal are currently occupying the 5th spot with 66 points in 37 games, two points away from 4th placed Tottenham with a league game to go.

    As it stands, Arsenal are guaranteed Europa League football but they can still qualify for a UEFA Champions League slot if Tottenham Hotspur lose their final league game of the season which is away against Norwich City on May 22 at 16:00.

    On the other hand, Arsenal are condemned to beat relegation-threatened Everton at the Emirates Stadium on May 22 at 16:00 to take advantage of Tottenham Hotspur’s slip in case it happens.

    Granit Xhaka blasts his Arsenal teammates:

    Granit Xhaka blasts his Arsenal teammates:

    Due to how Arsenal lost control of the top four race, Granit Xhaka urged his teammates who are not ready to play to stay at home or stay on the bench, adding that the performance of his teammates against Newcastle United was not acceptable.

    “If someone isn’t ready for this game, stay at home, as simple as that. It doesn’t matter your age, you can be 30, 35, 10, 18 – if you’re not ready for that, stay on the bench, stay at home, don’t come here”, Granit Xhaka told Sky Sports after Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United on Monday.

    “We need people to have the balls to come here and play because we knew this game is one of the most important for us”, he added. “To perform like this is not acceptable. It’s very, very sad for us, very disappointing and I feel very sorry for the people who came here to support us.

    “This is not the way we wanted to go. This is all I can say, to say sorry to them. I don’t have any other words.”

    Granit Xhaka did not stop there, he went on to claim that his teammates did not follow the game plan that coach Mikel Arteta has set up ahead of the league game. He stressed that the players were playing based on their will which was detrimental for the team at the end of the day.

    “We didn’t do what the game plan was, not listening to the coach and doing our things and these games happen,” Xhaka said.

    “What happened was a disaster performance and like this, you don’t deserve to play Champions League, don’t deserve to even play Europa League and it’s very hard to take it at the moment.

    “I don’t know why we are not doing what the coach is asking of us.”

    Has Granit Xhaka done enough for Arsenal?

    File photo of Granit Xhaka holding the neck of a central referee during a Premier League game.
    File photo of Granit Xhaka holding the neck of a central referee during a Premier League game.

    Granit Xhaka is one of the few players in the current coach Mikel Arteta’s squad that is above 29-year-old and the Swiss defender is seen as one of the leaders of the team.

    Recall that long before Mikel Arteta became the coach of Arsenal in 2019, Granit Xhaka was the captain of Arsenal. He lost the captain armband due to an avoidable clash he had with the club’s fans.

    Since the Switzerland international joined Arsenal from Borussia Mönchengladbach on July 1, 2016, for a transfer fee worth €45 million, Granit Xhaka has been the most undisciplined player at the club in terms of his nature of tackles.

    His unnecessary tackles have earned the Switzerland international five red cards since he started playing for the Gunners which is one of the highest in the Premier League.

    So far in the 2021-2022 season, Xhaka has been so undisciplined on the pitch that he has received 10 yellow cards and one red card in 26 Premier League games. The Swiss defensive midfielder has managed to score a goal and provide two assists for Arsenal in the Premier League this season.

    Xhaka whose contract with Arsenal will expire on June 30, 2024, reportedly earns £5,200,000 per season at the Premier League club.


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