Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Mikel Arteta makes Bukayo Saka decision amid Granit Xhaka disagreement

Arsenal currently find themselves under growing pressure in the race for the Premier League crown.

The Gunners have seen their lead at the top of the table sliced down to just four points by their nearest challengers Manchester City after back-to-back 2-2 draws with Liverpool and West Ham. Whilst still in prime position, the North London side are now slightly vulnerable ahead of a big couple of weeks that includes a clash with Southampton and against their title rivals.

With all that being said, take a look at all of the latest news coming out of the Emirates Stadium over the past 24 hours:

Mikel Arteta makes Saka penalty call

Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has confirmed Bukayo Saka will continue taking penalties for Arsenal after his crucial miss against West Ham on Sunday.

“If I had to pick one player to do it, it would be him again,” the Spaniard said in the aftermath of the England star’s miss from the spot at the London Stadium. “In that moment we missed it and this is football.”

Saka took to social media after Sunday afternoon’s game to apologise for his failed effort, with the likes of Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Magalhaes replying with messages of support.

Xhaka disagrees with Arteta

Arsenal midfielder Xhaka has disagreed with Arteta’s assessment that the draw against West Ham was down to the Gunners’ mentality.

Speaking after the stalemate across the capital, the Swiss midfielder said: “It is not about the mentality. For sure, it’s not.

“If something is not going well, it is easy to show the finger to someone else. Now, it is time to be together because there are seven games to go.”

In the meantime, the former Borussia Monchengladbach star has claimed that he does not concern himself with what rivals Man City are currently doing.

Roy Keane proved right

Gunners boss Arteta cannot claim that he wasn’t warned about Rob Holding with the Englishman having not yet managed to match the heights of William Saliba during the Frenchman’s injury absence.

As far back as 2020, Man Utd icon Roy Keane was concerned about his abilities. Speaking after a defeat to Liverpool, he said: “His [Arteta] hands are tied which is a big problem because he still needs a couple more players in.

“We saw again tonight that defensively – I still think David Luiz, Kieran Tierney and Rob Holding, there’s big question marks over them. Luiz still has that mistake in him.”

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