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Mikel Arteta Speaks On Criticism of Granit Xhaka After Arsenal’s Clash With Liverpool

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Mikel Arteta Speaks On Criticism of Granit Xhaka After Arsenal's Clash With Liverpool
Mikel Arteta Speaks On Criticism of Granit Xhaka After Arsenal's Clash With Liverpool (Image: Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has dismissed criticism of Granit Xhaka following his altercation with Trent Alexander-Arnold in the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.

Xhaka was involved in a confrontation with Alexander-Arnold, which ignited the Anfield crowd and resulted in both players receiving a yellow card.

Despite Arsenal’s brilliant start to the match and going two goals up, the confrontation seemed to fire up Liverpool, with Mohamed Salah scoring moments later to halve the deficit.

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READ ALSO: Player Ratings As Super Ramsdale Rescue Arsenal from Another Anfield Massacre

Arteta has played down the incident and is focusing on the positives of his team’s performance. The result leaves Arsenal in a strong position in the title race, with every point becoming increasingly important as the season enters its crucial final stages.

As the race for the top-four places heats up, it is crucial for Arsenal to maintain their discipline and composure on the pitch.

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While Xhaka’s confrontation may have ignited the Anfield crowd, Arteta will be hoping that his team can stay focused and continue to perform at their best in the coming matches.

Liverpool enjoyed near total dominance from that point onwards, missing a penalty and a host of great chances – with Aaron Ramsdale producing some fine stops but did eventually net an equaliser through Roberto Firmino.

READ ALSO: Manchester United Become ‘Most fined’ Premier League Club Ahead of Arsenal

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Afterwards, Jamie Carragher was one of many pundits to criticise Xhaka for firing up both the Liverpool players and the crowd, branding him ‘absolutely idiotic’, though Arteta was not convinced it was that big a factor.

Asked if the Xhaka incident contributed to Liverpool’s comeback, Arteta replied: ‘I don’t know if that’s the case.

‘We had a big chance after that. If we score 3-0, maybe the crowd doesn’t get too excited.

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‘But after that, they scored a goal and that changes the momentum and the hope.

‘But still we have to come out in the second half and we have to play more and that’s the lesson. The lesson is: stick to what we did in the first half, play with our personalities, our way of playing.

‘That’s the way we have to continue to play and if we do that we will win a lot of games.’

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Asked if the result feels like two points dropped or one point gained given how desperately they had to hang on at the end, Arteta replied: ‘When you concede at the end, always drop two points.

‘Because you have it and you are suffering but you rely on certain moments and the feeling is, “Ah, we should have done it.”

‘But being fair to ourselves, they had four big chances and they could have scored, and they missed a penalty. We have to look at ourselves in the mirror and we should have done much better in the second half.’

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