Arsenal motivated by critics after two opening losses – Granit Xhaka


Granit Xhaka insists Arsenal will be motivated by the criticism leveled at them after a poor start to the Premier League season.

The Gunners lost 2-0 at home to Chelsea on Sunday as Romelu Lukaku marked his second debut for the Blues with a goal before Reece James took a deserved victory for the visitors.

It followed a Day 1 loss to newly promoted Brentford as Arsenal suffered their worst start to a campaign in the top four leagues.

Xhaka, who signed a new deal with the club ahead of the start of the season – though heavily linked with a move to Italy – admits things need to improve as the team seek to prove their opponents are wrong.

“Of course,” replied the Swiss midfielder when asked if the team was motivated by the criticism.

“A lot of people are trying to talk and kill the players and the team a bit but the strongest thing to do right now is to be together, and only together will we be stronger and give results in the field afterwards.

We still have games ahead of us, we know we need to improve a lot and I’m sure we will.Granite Xhaka

“We want to achieve something big, of course. After two games a lot of people are talking about this team and this club but I will say that no season ends after two or three games.

“We still have games ahead of us, we know we need to improve a lot and I’m sure we will.”

Xhaka was Arsenal captain at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, a big turnaround after being stripped of the armband by Unai Emery following an explosion against supporters and then appearing ready to move to Rome a few weeks ago in sadness.

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Granit Xhaka (center) couldn’t help Arsenal avoid defeat to Chelsea (Nick Potts / PA)

Granit Xhaka (center) couldn’t help Arsenal avoid defeat to Chelsea (Nick Potts / PA)

“I am very happy, I am still here,” he added. “Of course I signed a new contract and I want to give back, first to our staff, then to our fans.

“They know I’m going to give it my all – every game and every training session. So yeah, I think we have to show that as a team soon.

While Arsenal suffered early in the season, Chelsea continued to ride the crest of a wave.

The Champions League holders beat Villarreal on penalties to lift the Super Cup and have since secured league wins against Crystal Palace and Arsenal.

“It’s a perfect start,” said manager Thomas Tuchel.

“We didn’t concede a goal and we have two wins. It’s a London derby so that gives us a lot of the confidence that we need as a team.

“We’re a different group, some players have left, some players have entered, so these experiences together are what we need.”

It was also announced on Monday that Chelsea and Arsenal, along with Tottenham, have raised £ 228,064 for Mind – Britain’s leading mental health charity – by playing three preseason friendlies against each other for the benefit of the cause.


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