After a crushing 2-0 loss against Newcastle United, Granit Xhaka said he does not feel some of his teammates were up for the fight. Arsenal’s midfielder Granit Xhaka was furious after his side’s 2-0 Premier League defeat against Newcastle United, saying Mikel Arteta’s team “don’t deserve” Champions League qualification after the damaging reverse.
A Ben White own goal gave the Magpies the lead in a must-win clash for the Gunners, before Bruno Guimaraes sealed Newcastle’s victory late on, leaving Arsenal’s top-four hopes hanging by a thread.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the loss, Xhaka called it a “disaster performance”, accusing his teammates of not following Arteta’s game plan and asserting the team did not deserve European football after producing such a showing.
“So difficult to find the right words after the game,” he said. “We came here to show a different game, but from the first minute until the 90th minute we didn’t deserve to be on the pitch today. I can’t explain why we didn’t do what the game plan was. Not listening to the coach, [it] was a disaster performance.“
“[If you] play like this you don’t deserve Champions League, don’t even deserve Europa league. Very hard to take it at the moment, I don’t know why we are not doing what the coach is asking of us,” he added.
Xhaka went on to declare Arsenal had not shown the necessary fight at St James’ Park and his told teammates that if they didn’t “have the balls”, they should have stayed at home.
“I don’t know if someone is not ready for this game, stay at home,” he added. “Doesn’t matter the age. You can be 30, 35, you can be 10, you can be 18, [if you’re] not ready, 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 to play because we knew this game is maybe one of the most important games for us. A performance like this… [we cannot] accept it, very very sad for us. Sorry for the people that came over here to support us. I feel sorry for Arsenal supporters, this is the only thing I can say – to say sorry to them,” concluded the Arsenal captain.
What lies ahead for Arsenal?
Arsenal is now two points behind Tottenham in the standings with one match remaining, where Spurs will need to lose to Norwich City to allow the Gunners a chance to sneak back into the top four, courtesy of their inferior goal difference.
The Gunners will play Everton at the Emirates Stadium in their final fixture of the Premier League season on Sunday.