Arsenal boss Arteta let down by four players in chaotic PSV defeat

Mikel Arteta was given a timely reminder of how quickly things can change in football after his rotated Arsenal lost 2-0 to PSV Eindhoven. The Spaniard opted to make five changes since the 1-1 draw with Southampton to keep his team fresh, with the likes of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Jesus rested after starting on the bench. But it was a completely different competition from their first clash in the Emirates when PSV roared to victory.

The Gunners needed only one point to seal their advance as group winners to the round of 16, but were fortunate to reach half-time on equal terms after Cody Gakpo and Xavi Simons had goals disallowed for offside after a VAR review.

But Joey Veerman scored shortly after the break to give PSV a deserved lead and from there Arsenal fell apart. An error by Aaron Ramsdale allowed Luuk de Jong to head in from a corner to double the lead and Gakpo nearly made the third, only to see the flag go up against him for a second time.

Express Sport sheds light on the players who failed to shine at Philips Stadion in Eindhoven.

Albert Sambi Lokonga

Arteta, when asked about Lokonga’s requests for more playing time, challenged the midfielder: “We will see more and he needs to show that what he asks for, he can produce on the pitch,” he said.

With playing time at a premium, the Belgian knows he has to seize such opportunities with both hands, even if it means putting himself in the window. And the 23-year-old didn’t look bad in midfield, taking on Thomas Partey’s role of keeping possession and committing clever tactical fouls to break up the game.

He also completed 90 percent of his passes, but the second half was a different story. Lokonga simply disappeared when Arsenal turned the ball over in their own defensive third and Veerman’s run did not register when he struck home. Arteta made a quick change, taking out the Belgian and Martin Odegaard, which shows exactly what he thought about displaying him.

William Saliba

Given the way he has performed almost flawlessly for Arsenal this season, it is safe to assume that Saliba was always destined to have a dubious performance or two at the back.

Tested by the pace and skill of exciting star Xavi Simons, under Cody Gakpo, the Frenchman seemed unsure of his position in defense and PSV thrived.

The 21-year-old was found wanting when Veerman ended up getting past Ramsdale expertly, caught looking at the ball while Luuk de Jong was in possession. And while there is much to be excited about with the future of the guaranteed centre-back in the Emirates, this performance will raise some concern, with Arteta hoping it is an anomaly rather than the new norm.

Eddie Nketiah

At one point in the first half, Arteta let Nketiah know of his frustration, barking at the striker after he failed to make a simple pass to Kieran Tierney. And that summed up the anonymous display of him that will likely keep him off the team when Arteta returns to being Gabriel Jesus.

The striker’s attempts to lead the line were futile and there was a clear chasm between what the 23-year-old had to offer compared to Jesus being outplayed by Jarrad Branthwaite in the PSV backline as he barely featured in the first half.

The former England U21 striker has been begging for a chance to prove he deserves more minutes, but this display only highlighted why he is a substitute striker today. Lacking attacking cunning and struggling to link up with Gabriel Martinelli, it looks like he will be confined to the bench for the next few weeks.

Aaron Ramsdale

The goalkeeper has grown accustomed to winning since joining Arsenal, but the England international could have little to complain about his team-mates’ poor performance as he was to blame for the second goal.

Ramsdale sprinted off his line to ward off Veerman’s corner kick in the 53rd minute. Instead, the stopper completely misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing De Jong to finish with an empty goal.

Arsenal had Ramsdale to thank for keeping the scoreline respectable, denying the excellent De Jong and Simons later in the game as PSV pressed for a third. But at that point, the damage had been done, and only Gareth Southgate knows how much influence that mistake will have on his decision on his number one pick for the World Cup.

#Arsenal #boss #Arteta #players #chaotic #PSV #defeat

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