Home Football Leno defends ‘very unlucky’ Xhaka after horror gaffe costs Arsenal’s two points at Burnley

Leno defends ‘very unlucky’ Xhaka after horror gaffe costs Arsenal’s two points at Burnley

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Leno defends ‘very unlucky’ Xhaka after horror gaffe costs Arsenal’s two points at Burnley


The Gunners endured a frustrating afternoon at Turf Moor, with the hosts gifted their equaliser in a 1-1 draw

Granit Xhaka endured an afternoon to forget for Arsenal at Burnley, as he gifted Chris Wood an equaliser in a 1-1 draw, but Bernd Leno claims the midfielder was “very unlucky”.

The Gunners had led at Turf Moor through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but were hauled level before the interval.

That is because, when playing out from the back, Xhaka clipped a pass into Clarets frontman Wood and watched on in horror as the ball ricocheted into the back of the net.

What has been said?

Leno told BBC Sport when looking to defend Xhaka from any criticism: “We wanted to build out again because it had been working and it was very unlucky from Granit but it happens.

“There is always risk to play out from the back but this is our style. I think we have more than enough situations where it works to our advantage.”

What else happened?

Both teams had chances to take all three points at Turf Moor, with another action-packed Premier League fixture played out.

The most contentious moments arrived in the second half, as Arsenal looked to establish forward momentum once more in an ongoing bid to claim a top-six finish.

Mikel Arteta shuffled his pack, with Nicolas Pepe among those introduced off the bench.

Nicolas Pepe Erik Pieters Arsenal Burnley 2020-21

He felt there had been handball by Burnley defender Erik Pieters on two occasions, but was frustrated both times.

Arteta has spoken out against VAR after seeing one penalty appeal waved away, while the input of those at Stockley Park led to another spot-kick and subsequent red card for Pieters being rescinded.

Leno added on a frustrating outing for the Gunners: “We had many big chances. I think we should have got a penalty and at the end it is only one point and I think we deserved more.

“In the first half we played our game and we dominated. It should have been two or three-nil and it was 1-1.

“In the second half we played too much of Burnley’s football and it doesn’t suit us or anybody in the Premier League.”

The bigger picture

Stalemate in Lancashire has kept Arsenal stuck in mid-table, seven points adrift of sixth-placed West Ham and nine behind the top four as the majority of those above them now boast games in hand.

A Europa League outing against Olympiacos is next on the agenda for Arteta’s side, with the first leg of a heavyweight continental clash set to be taken in on Thursday, while a north London derby date with Tottenham is due to be staged at Emirates Stadium next Sunday.

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