Wright claims Arsenal player was totally out of position when Kane scored… it wasn't Partey

Sam Preston December 7, 2020
Wright claims Arsenal player was totally out of position when Kane scored… it wasn't Partey
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Ian Wright feels Granit Xhaka was caught too high up the pitch when Tottenham scored their second goal against Arsenal yesterday.

Harry Kane finished off a devastating counter attack to make it 2-0 and seal the north London derby win.

But speaking on Match of the Day 2 (16 mins) 06/12, Wright felt Xhaka didn’t need to go and press the ball in the buildup to the goal.

That left Arsenal four against two at the back, and Spurs were not about to pass up that sort of opportunity.

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“Thomas Partey had to limp out, unfortunately the gamble on him didn’t work,” said Wright. “But Xhaka has got to be more aware.

“As the holding midfielder with six players in front of you, you don’t need to be going in there. You should be holding out. Once the ball gets to here, Arsenal are in all sorts of trouble.

“They (Gabriel and Rob Holding) didn’t shout to him but he’s experienced enough to know that situation.”

Xhaka was perhaps overly keen to rush into challenges and press the ball all afternoon, and was booked in the second half.

GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

He’s just seen his midfield colleague in Partey limp off, and he knows Spurs are so sharp on the break.

But he still rushed into pressing the ball, leaving his back two totally exposed to Tottenham’s pace.

Question marks have persisted about Xhaka throughout his Arsenal career and especially in the big games.

Wright was right to pick him out on that goal, and it was ultimately the blow which sealed the result.

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Sam Preston a senior football writer for the Boot Room and United in Focus. He is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist with five years of professional experience writing digital content. He studied with the Press Association and also has a 2:1 Law with French Law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Burnley, Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.