Sports

Arsenal lack leadership and desire, and they could miss the Champions League because of it after Newcastle loss


NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, England — Arsenal have blown two alternatives within the area of 4 days to take management of their Champions League future and so they have solely themselves in charge for the truth that they’re now counting on relegated Norwich to throw them an unlikely lifeline of their dropping battle to return to membership soccer’s largest competitors.

Having misplaced 3-0 to Tottenham final Thursday, Arsenal knew {that a} win at Newcastle on Monday would take them again into the highest 4 and guarantee they began the ultimate weekend of the season with a one-point benefit over Spurs within the race for the ultimate Champions League qualification spot.

However this Arsenal group is neither resilient nor dependable, and the one constructive from their 2-0 defeat at St. James’ Park was that the ultimate rating line was no more reflective of the house facet’s dominance.

Arsenal have been so dangerous, so passive, that supervisor Mikel Arteta stated Newcastle have been “100 times better in every department.” Midfielder Granit Xhaka went even additional by hinting at a weak mentality amongst his teammates.

“People speak always about leaders,” Xhaka stated. “We’re not playing tennis, we’re playing football. If someone is not ready for this pressure, stay at home. You can’t come here and play like this.

“They [Newcastle] have been operating us over from the primary minute to the 96th. If you play like this you do not need to play within the Champions League.”

While Xhaka had a point, he was as big a culprit as those he was criticising. The Switzerland international is experienced enough to lead this team on the pitch, but he was nowhere to be seen when Newcastle were winning every challenge, so Xhaka’s words ring fairly hollow, unless he is blaming himself too.

And so, having been a win away from sealing Champions League qualification against Spurs last week, Arsenal now need to beat Everton at the Emirates on Sunday and hope that Norwich, the Premier League’s bottom team, beat Antonio Conte’s side at Carrow Road.

If that happens, Arsenal will be the luckiest team on the planet, but they don’t deserve any fortune or favours after their embarrassing failure to get the job done themselves.

Make no mistake, Arsenal are heading for the Europa League and the ramifications of their late-season choke could have major implications at the Emirates.

Champions League qualification, for the first time in five years, would be worth at least £70 million to Arsenal. A run into the knockout stages could see them earn close to £100 million.

That kind of financial uplift would give Arsenal the chance to compete with the leading clubs in the transfer market this summer and ensure that emerging stars such as Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli had no reason to consider a move elsewhere.

But without Champions League football, nothing can be certain at the Emirates. The Europa League is not only a substandard competition in relation to the Champions League — one which does not appeal to the best players — it also delivers nothing like the finances of UEFA’s senior competition.

When Chelsea beat Arsenal to win the Europa League in Baku in 2019 — the last season unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic — they banked just £39 million from winning the competition, so the difference between the two tournaments is huge.

But it cannot all be about money and finances. Arsenal did not perform so poorly against Newcastle because of money.

Arteta’s players simply lacked desire and hunger. Newcastle, with nothing to play for, performed like a team that had everything on the line.

It was a similar story in the defeat at Tottenham when the home side outfought Arsenal. Even though Arteta has made progress in changing the attitude at the Emirates, old habits die hard and Arsenal still lack tenacity when they need to fight their way to a win.

Except for Saka, who remains to be solely 20, Arsenal lack a participant who could be relied upon to measure up when confronted with a problem. That lack of management permeates by way of the group and leads to all the gamers wanting and ready for any person else to step up.

However the one gamers stepping up on this recreation have been sporting black and white shirts. A Ben White personal aim and a Bruno Guimaraes strike have been sufficient to seal the 2-0 house win, however it might have been extra for Newcastle.

That is all the way down to Arsenal, although. With the prize of Champions League soccer inside their grasp, they’ve didn’t seize the initiative and their recurring nightmare goes on.

“I am incredibly disappointed,” Arteta stated. “It’s a very painful one. It was in our hands and today it’s not in our hands. We have to beat Everton and wait for Norwich to beat Spurs, but there’s always a tiny chance in football.”



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