Granit Xhaka tells Arsenal to play like Newcastle as he turns air blue in All or Nothing rant

Granit Xhaka fumes

Granit Xhaka turned the air blue and told his Arsenal team-mates they had to play like Newcastle United after his side performed like a ‘second division team’ against the Magpies last season.

Newcastle produced their best display of the campaign to defeat Arsenal 2-0 at St James’ Park back in May and it was Eddie Howe’s side who looked like they were playing for a place in the top four – not the visitors. Relentless Newcastle had more possession, shots and corners and, crucially, the black-and-whites made that dominance count in the second half.

Ben White put the ball through his own net under pressure from Callum Wilson in the 55th minute before Bruno Guimaraes sealed all three points late on as Newcastle recorded their first win against a traditional big hitter under Howe. The result dealt a huge blow to Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for the Champions League and bitter rivals Spurs were in the driving seat going into the final day, knowing a win against relegated Norwich City would secure their place at Europe’s top table.

Yet it is easy to forget that, somehow, it was goalless at St James’ at half-time and the final episode of Amazon’s All or Nothing documentary series on Arsenal has revealed just what was said in the away dressing room as Xhaka attempted to rally his team-mates.

“Guys we are dreaming of the f—– Champions League,” he said. “We are playing like a second division team, man. Everyone! Wake up now for 45 minutes guys. We have to play how they are playing. F— me! Wake up guys! Wake up!”

Mikel Arteta had told his players before the game that he wanted to see them take the initiative and show that they wanted it more than Newcastle. However, Arsenal were fortunate to be level going in at the break after struggling to cope with Newcastle’s energy and intensity after the hosts fed off a remarkable atmosphere under the lights.

Arteta would later admit that Newcastle played ‘10,000 times better’ than Arsenal, but the Gunners’ fate was far from sealed when the Spaniard addressed his players before they went out for the second half. It reminds you just how impressive Newcastle’s performance was after the break, too.

“OK, life, when you want to achieve something, you have to suffer,” Arteta said in his half-time team talk. “You know that, yeah? You have to earn the right to play and, to do that, you have to win your duel, you have to be compact, you have to win the second ball and you have to be first on the ball.

“At the minute, it’s all them. In all the departments, it’s all them and we have to flick the switch. The best way to do it, guys, is having the ball.

“They have a deep free-kick here and a deep free-kick here and, Mo [Elneny], they are coming with the ball. You come with the ball and leave Gabi [Gabriel] there and Granit and provoke them, something. Guys, we have to turn this around.”

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