Former Premier League midfielder Andy Townsend has claimed that people are pointing the finger at the wrong Arsenal player after the Gunners gifted Burnley their easiest goal of the season.
Granit Xhaka received the ball from Bernd Leno inside our own penalty box. The Swiss international took an extra touch and his attempted pass from his weaker foot to David Luiz struck Chris Wood and ended up in the back of the net.
The former Borussia Monchengladbach man received a ton of criticism for his misplaced pass. He will be the first one to admit that he should’ve done better there, but Townsend believes that it was Leno who was at fault, not Xhaka.
He said on TalkSport (Monday, 4:41 pm): “Who’s to blame? Granit Xhaka? Everyone had a go at him.
“The blame lies with the goalkeeper because he gave him the ball. Yes, you have got your philosophy, but it’s so stupid to try and play. Also, you are dropping it onto Granit Xhaka onto his weaker foot.”
Arsenal Insider’s view:
This is a never-ending debate. Some think that Xhaka should have done better with the pass, while others feel that Leno should’ve just booted the ball long to avoid any risk of giving Burnley a chance.
Both arguments make sense. Xhaka has received a similar pass tons of times in the past and he has dealt with them effortlessly. It was just one of those days for him and he got it wrong, but that happens in football.
It’s the same with Leno. He has clearly been instructed by Mikel Arteta to play out from the back as much as possible. He just followed his manager’s instructions and unfortunately for him, it didn’t quite work out.
People will have a go at this every week as Arsenal will continue to play out from the back. We’ve been hugely successful with it since Arteta took over and one mistake should and will not change the way we play.