Monday, 29 April 2019

BBC pundits deliver scathing assessment of Arsenal's display at Leicester

Alan Shearer and Danny Murphy did not hold back in their assessment of Arsenal's performance in the defeat at Leicester


It was another big blow to Arsenal's top four hopes as the Gunners lost out 3-0 against Leicester City yesterday (Sunday).


The Gunners were well beaten at the King Power Stadium, with Youri Tielemans netting the first goal, before two late strikes from Jamie Vardy helped the Foxes coast to victory and dent the hopes of Unai Emery's side finishing in the top four.

But Match of the Day 2 pundits Danny Murphy and Alan Shearer have delivered a damming verdict on Arsenal's performance in the game, with the former Liverpool midfielder highly critical of a "passive" display from the Gunners, regardless of the red card shown to Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Maitland-Niles' red card

What Maitland-Niles said to Maddison


Former referee's verdict


What James Maddison said


The pundits have their say


“I think the season is coming to an end too quickly for Leicester. It looked to me like Leicester were the team fighting for a Champions League place. It really did," he said, speaking on the BBC programme.

“Arsenal set up with a 4-4-2 playing deep, fine, no problem with that playing on the counter attack with two strikers who are quick. But you have got to press the ball, run about and compete.

“It carried on, they were passive and there was a lethargy about Arsenal. I don’t know whether they are fit enough. [Alex] Iwobi doesn’t get out to the ball, and it is like a testimonial for Leicester, they are playing the ball around and getting touches on it.

Leicester City's Youri Telemans against Arsenal.

“You have got to show some intent. [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan has his back to play, he can’t see [Ben] Chilwell running off of him and [Granit] Xhaka is ballwatching, but [Youri] Tielemans lets him off the hook. It is unbelievable.

 

“It is like a mid-table game with nothing in it, but it’s not. Arsenal could get in the Champions League. Press the ball and stop the cross, get out and don’t let people run by you so easily.

Granit Xhaka in action

“Xhaka, watch this, he turns his back. He’s a holding midfielder, supposed to be a leader, not in my book.

“Now Leicester played with determination, watch this for a tackle. Which team here is trying to get in the Champions League? Because I can only see one playing with any passion, tenacity and quality.

“This is pressing, this is intensity, and how you start a game of football. It is ridiculous. You can moan about the sending off, but if you are trying to get in the Champions League, you can’t play with that attitude, what chance have you got?”

 

And fellow pundit Alan Shearer did not hold back in his analysis of Arsenal's defending in the game, and how they approached the challenge of facing Jamie Vardy.

Indeed, the former Newcastle United striker delivered a similarly scathing assessment to that of his fellow BBC pundit.

“I have to say how pathetic the back line of Arsenal were, even with 11 men," said Shearer.

“Jamie Vardy’s movement was sensational and he gave them an absolute nightmare. There was space in behind and what does Jamie Vardy want? Space in behind to run into.

Jamie Vardy scores Leicester's third goal against Arsenal (Image: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

“It was a constant all afternoon, with them playing a high line, whether it be with ten men or with 11. They could not live with him. He [Vardy] loved that out there.

“The ball travels almost 100 yards and they still can’t get near him, the Arsenal defenders. He was a willing runner, he was too quick for them and he gets his goals that he deserved.

 

“They should have defended better, they should have defended deeper.

“Jamie Vardy wants space in behind to run into, every team in the league knows that, and it is easier said than done, I am sure. But he must wish he could play against that back four every single week, because they were hopeless.

“Even with 11 men, you and I both know that Vardy wants space, so why on earth are you playing a high line when there is no pressure on the ball.”

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