‘We didn't deserve to be on the pitch', Xhaka blasts Arsenal's dismal display

Swiss midfielder doesn't pull his punches following Gunners 2-0 defeat at Newcastle - insisting the club 'don't deserve to even play Europa League'

Monday, 16th May — By Steve Barnett

Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka had little time for excuses following Arsenal’s 2-0 defeat at Newcastle

FORGET the Champions League, Granit Xhaka believes Arsenal “don’t deserve to even play Europa League” following their dismal defeat against Newcastle tonight (Monday).

The Gunners went into the game at St James’ Park knowing that only a win would see them move back above Tottenham into fourth in the Premier League, and leave them in the driving seat to secure Champions League football next season.

But far from rising to the occasion, Mikel Arteta’s young side slumped to a 2-0 loss as Ben White’s own goal and Bruno Guimaraes’ late strike saw the Magpies seal a deserved victory.

Refusing to hold back in his assessment of the game, Xhaka said: “From the first minute until the 90th minutes we didn’t deserve to be on the pitch today.

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

“What happened was a disaster performance and like this you don’t deserve to play Champions League, you 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.”

Arsenal have the youngest squad in the Premier League, but refusing to accept age – and the pressures of chasing a top-four finish – as an excuse for the club’s 13th league defeat of the season, Xhaka added: “If somebody 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.

“We need people to have the balls, sorry to say that, to come here and play because we knew this game is one of the most important for us. 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. I feel very, very sorry for Arsenal supporters.

“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.”

Arsenal now need a miracle on the final day of the season on Sunday if they are to qualify for the Champions League. Not only do they have to beat Everton at the Emirates, but they also have to hope that Norwich City can beat Tottenham at Carrow Road.

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