Souness rips into Arsenal player for lack of awareness against Tottenham

Arsenal players looked very confused for much of their north London derby loss to Tottenham this afternoon.

The Gunners were cut apart by Jose Mourinho’s league leaders and one occurrence close to half time showed how unorganised the Gunners were.

Thomas Partey had picked up an injury, curiously, the Ghanaian decided to walk off the pitch instead of laying on the floor to get treatment.

As he walked off, Spurs broke on the counter and Mikel Arteta tried to force him back to stop the attack, but it was too late and Harry Kane scored Tottenham’s second and final goal of the game.

Graeme Souness wasn’t impressed by Arsenal’s handling of the situation and slammed Granit Xhaka for not being aware of what had happened with Partey.

He claimed that the Swiss midfielder should have been looking at where his team was vulnerable which would have kept him in the know about what had happened.

‘Big players, leaders, don’t allow that to happen on the football pitch,’ said Souness as quoted by Mail Online.

‘As a central midfield player, as a holding central midfield player – I don’t know what Xhaka is, it’s been about six or seven years and I’m not quite sure what he is – the alarm bells are ringing,’ said the former Liverpool man. 

‘All the time you’re looking over your shoulder, “where are we vulnerable?”. But they just empty the space, [Giovani] Lo Celso picks it up, “on you go,” 2-0, game over, possibly.’  

Tags Graeme Souness Granit Xhaka


  1. Now, I might not be the most ardent of Xhaka’s fans, but to blame him for Partey’s inexplicable behaviour is a bridge to far.

    Why would he think Partey would decide to take himself off when the spuds are launching an attack?

    The criticism of this player gets more ridiculous every day.

  2. Xhaka is just too good for nothing. Should we have used him at old trafford, even the penalty wasn’t going to be there. He wastes too much time finger pointing and passing the ball backwards.

  3. I agree Ken that one moment was harsh on Xhaka; who expects a teammate to step off pitch when you’re being counter attacked?

    Team is playing like Arteta as a player; predictable, static, possession based without a cutting edge in midfield.

    Worrying trends happening now, none of our strikers are scoring, and only idea is reheating the crossing tactic. We’re Euro Lions and PL Lambs.

    Hard to stay positive while we’re dropping like a stone.

  4. I am tired of those blaming the players. Let’s take Auba for instance. Last year hw was shy of winning
    He won it the year prior.
    2016–17: Bundesliga top goal scorer.
    2018–19: Premier League Golden Boot.
    2019–20 Shy of the golden boot by one goal.
    This year he looks lost and doesn’t seem to know how to score.
    Why the difference? It is the coach and it does not end with Auba. Willian looks average. Laca looks below average. Xhaka not even worth rating. Bellerin with his new role is a liability and it the story goes on and on.
    Good coaches get 150% out of their players and bad coaches render their professional players into layman.
    We can beat around it. We can be polite. We can ignore the truth but doing so is accepting mediocrity.
    This coach is simply out of his league.

  5. Think Xhaka deserves all the criticism, except for the Partey incident. I’ve always associated him with everything that’s gone rotten at Arsenal since his arrival. To think that Gnarby and even Ramsey were let go because managers were giving him so much playing time and trusting him to do the job. There were at least three fouls yesterday which were totally unnecessary. Poor defensively too slow in moving the ball forward, I can’t see what he brings to the team. Obviously Arteta rates him otherwise he might have given Maitland Niles more opportunities. I gave Arteta the benefit of the doubt when he arrived and gave Xhaka the big thumbs up, thinking it was probably a good motivational ploy by the manager, but after yesterday they might both be heading in the same direction out of the club.

  6. Arteta should first go to a championship side to get some experience .Arsenal job is too big for him. Who plays Xhaka and Willian in every game while leaving Niles and Balougan on the bench?

  7. As long as we don’t include Maitland-Niles in our defensive midfield set-up, we still gonna mourn. They guy was playing for England under 23 as defensive midfielder. Given a chance in any position, Maitland-Niles fully pull up his socks. Xhaka should not be anywhere near the substitute bench

  8. Souness was wrong to finger Xhaka for the Partey episode, for which responsibility rests with the latter and the Manager, who decided to “risk” him when he was clearly not fully fit.How much more sensible to give him say 60 mins against Dundalk in preparation for the Burnley match next Sunday.How long will be be out at a time when we need our best players as we sink into deep water?As for Xhaka, with the best will in the World, this guy is a liability, who rarely contributes anything meaningful to the team.Yesterday he committed his first foul within minutes of the start and was fortunate not to be booked.To say I am surprised that Arteta continues to play him is an understatement particularly with AMN and Elneny available.Until Xhaka, Bellerin and Willian are left out we will continue to struggle I’m afraid.Sorry to sound so gloomy early in the day.

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