Arsenal’s defeat to Liverpool highlighted a “glaring issue” for Mikel Arteta.
That’s the view of former Arsenal star Paul Merson, who says that the Gunners missed Granit Xhaka in the 3-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.
Xhaka was absent for the defeat in north London, with Jurgen Klopp’s men running out convincing winners as two goals from Diogo Jota and a Mo Salah strike gave the visitors all three points.
The defeat led to plenty of criticism for the Gunners from pundits and fans alike, with Gary Neville delivering a scathing assessment of Arsenal in the wake of the defeat.
That criticism was justified, according to Arteta, who apologised to supporters after the game and admitted that his side were second best to their opponents.
But Merson said he feels the defeat highlighted a worrying problem for Arteta, adding that the lack of options for goalkeeper Bernd Leno and his defenders to pass the ball out from the back was “mind-blowing.”
Speaking to Sky Sports, Merson said: “The defeat against Liverpool just goes to show you how good Granit Xhaka is. He became a better player not playing against Liverpool.
“People say to me they don’t know what Xhaka does. He doesn’t score goals, he doesn’t make goals and gets booked and all that, but give him his due, what was glaring to see in Arsenal’s defeat is that he wants the ball.
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“In times of trouble he will always try to get on the ball – and that’s what (Arsenal) didn’t have.
“No-one was showing for the ball and, in the end, the goalkeeper was just booting the ball.
“Honestly, it was mind-blowing.”