‘Just clear the f***ing ball away!’: Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka blasts team-mates’ error-strewn defending after Gunners conceded stoppage-time equaliser against Slavia Prague
- Arsenal conceded a late Europa League away goal to Slavia Prague on Thursday
- Unfancied Czech side nodded home stoppage time equaliser in quarter-final tie
- Goal came after Arsenal had conceded a needless corner in the first leg fixture
- Granit Xhaka blasted defenders after the final whistle at the Emirates Stadium
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka reportedly launched an expletive tirade at his side’s defending after they allowed Slavia Prague to grab a last gasp equaliser in their Europa League tie.
The Gunners had laboured at the Emirates Stadium before Nicolas Pepe looked to have bagged a winner in the first leg of the quarter-final with just four minutes to play in the 1-1 draw.
However under pressure deep into four added minutes of stoppage time, nervous play in trying to play the ball out from Cedric Soares and Gabriel allowed the unfancied Czech side to grab a corner kick with just over 60 seconds to play.
Granit Xhaka hit out at his Arsenal side’s defending after they conceded a late equaliser
Slavia Prague headed home in stoppage time to grab a 1-1 draw at the Emirates Stadium
A far post delivery saw Cedric beaten at the back post by centre-back Tomas Holes, whose headed effort could only be punched into the roof of the net by keeper Bernd Leno.
When the final whistle came just a few seconds later, Xhaka was unable to hide his anger, with a reporter claiming the Switzerland international turned to defenders and confronted them over giving away a needless corner, shouting: ‘Just clear the f***ing ball away man!’
Xhaka’s criticisms were backed up by Sportsmail’s Martin Keown, with the former Arsenal defender also frustrated by the play in the build up to the corner while also lamenting the defending from the resulting set-piece.
Tomas Holes beats Cedric Soares at the far post to head home Slavia’s goal past Bernd Leno
The Arsenal keeper could only divert the ball into the roof of the net in the Europa League tie
‘The marking for the corner is atrocious or non-existent, he told BT Sport. ‘Gabriel in the build up to that, there’s panic, a nervousness.
‘No clean sheets in 14 games now it showed tonight when they needed it most, to keep a clean sheet in the last five or ten minutes, they just couldn’t do it.’
Although Keown admitted the result was not the end of Arsenal’s Europa League hopes, he slammed the Gunners for needing to have constant wake up calls before they started competing on the field.
Xhaka (left) looks on dejected with team-mates following the first leg quarter-final
Martin Keown has hit out at Arsenal’s nervous approach, calling on manager Mikel Arteta (left) to produce a better reaction from his stars
‘In the first-half it became nervy and they weren’t the team we saw just a few weeks ago against West Ham for instance, he added.
‘It seems like Arsenal are not proactive in games, they need someone to slap them or punch them in the face before they wake up and start to play.
‘(The result is) hugely disappointing, it’s going to be difficult now for [Mikel] Arteta. He’s made a lot of changes within the club, a lot of people have been allowed to go. There’s been a lot of problems for Arsenal across a number of years with players coming in and out.
‘He’s in charge now and he’s not quite getting the reaction from the team. They’re making sloppy mistakes and it cost them. We expected them to do their talking on the pitch. It’s the same old story, Arsenal giving away goals. It’s a disastrous result but it’s not the end.’
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