Granit Xhaka has claimed that Arsenal do not even deserve to play in the Europa League next season after their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League took a heavy blow.
Arsenal lost 2-0 at Newcastle on Monday to leave rivals Tottenham in the box seat to finish fourth and book their place in next season’s UCL.
Spurs now need only to draw at Norwich City on Sunday to finish above Arsenal for the sixth consecutive year.
Arsenal were second best against a Newcastle side who sit 20 points below them in the Premier League table.
A Ben White own goal and a late clincher by Bruno Guimaraes gave the Gunners precisely what they deserved – nothing.
Former Arsenal captain Xhaka played the full 90 minutes on Monday and later accused his teammates of lacking “balls” in a post-game interview.
Xhaka also claimed that some Arsenal players had not followed instructions from manager Mikel Arteta.
“It’s difficult to find the right words,” Xhaka told Sky Sports. “From the first minute to the 90th we didn’t deserve to be on the pitch.
“I can’t explain to you why. We didn’t do what the game plan was, not listening to the coach. What happened was a disaster performance. You don’t deserve to play Champions League or even Europa League. It’s very hard to take it at the moment.
“I don’t know why we’re not doing what the coach is asking for us.”
Xhaka was then asked if inexperience among Arsenal’s young squad had been a factor behind their poor showing.
He replied: “If someone isn’t ready for this game, stay at home. It doesn’t matter your age. If you’re nervous, stay on the bench or stay at home.
“You need people to have the balls to come here and play. It’s one of the most important games for us. We’re feeling very disappointed for the people who came over here.
“Sorry to them [fans], I don’t have any other words.
“The dressing room is very quiet. The game plan was totally different to what we did over 90 minutes.
“We are waiting for six years [to get back in the Champions League]. We had everything in our hands. We looked like we were in the position where Newcastle are and they were where we are.”
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka was furious with his teammates after they lost to Newcastle
IMAGO/PA Images/John Walton