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Granit Xhaka slammed for role in “farcical” Bernd Leno mistake in Arsenal defeat

Granit Xhaka was slammed by Graeme Souness over his role in Bernd Leno’s farcical own goal which saw Arsenal beaten by Everton.

Mikel Arteta’s side suffered a 13th Premier League defeat of the season after a lacklustre performance at the Emirates.

They had plenty of the ball but lacked any intensity or aggression in attack, and were undone when Richarlison got the better of Granit Xhaka and beat Leno with a shot that squirmed in off the goalkeeper’s leg.

Xhaka, who has been playing at left-back in the absence of the injured Kieran Tierney, was beaten to the ball by Richarlison in the lead-up to the goal, and then was too easily shrugged off by the Brazilian winger as he tried to recover the situation.

And he was criticised by Souness, who was on punditry duty for the game.

Granit Xhaka was beaten too easily by Richarlison in the lead-up to Everton’s goal

“For me, Richarlison eases Xhaka off the ball too easily,” Souness told Sky Sports . “He just gets eased off the ball too easily for me.”

Souness said Xhaka’s inexperience in the position showed as he failed to show Richarlison to the by-line and was shown a clean pair of heels by the winger.

“He makes his mind up – I’m going to stand my ground and tackle to win the ball instead of forcing him down the line, showing him down the line,” said the former Liverpool midfielder.

“You’ve got know who you’re playing against. Instead of buying his team-mates some time to get in position, he tries to tackle him. He should show him down the line. He’s too square on to him.”

Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno saw the ball squirm in off his leg
Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno saw the ball squirm in off his leg

Leno didn’t cover himself in glory either, letting Richarlison’s shot trickle in off his leg when the odds were against the Everton man beating him from an awkward angle.

Souness said of the goal: “It’s farcical, and that really is a very, very poor goal to give away. An embarrassing goal to give a way.”

The defeat was Arsenal’s ninth of the season at home in all competitions, and seventh Premier League loss at the Emirates this term.

It left them languishing in ninth place and piled the pressure on Mikel Arteta, with next week’s Europa League trip to face Villarreal taking on ever more significance.

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