Football

Blame players, not Mikel Arteta, for Arsenal’s poor form: Bernd Leno

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is not to blame for their precarious position in the English Premier League and the players must shoulder the responsibility for the team's dismal form, said goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

The Gunners snapped a three-game losing streak in the league yesterday morning (Singapore time) with a 1-1 draw at home to Southampton, but the London club are not out of danger, sitting five points above the relegation zone in 15th place.

Leno told Sky Sports: "The coach is least to blame for the fact that we are in this situation. If you look at the way we were running around on the pitch at times, then the players are the only ones to blame.

"We're getting red cards, making mistakes, standing out of position. These are things that we have clearly addressed a thousand times. In the end, it's a lack of focus on the part of the players.

"The coach is not an issue in the dressing room, there is no criticism of him. We criticise ourselves and the players know that they are responsible."

Leno said a lack of discipline had contributed to Arsenal's problems and the players were determined to put things right.

Arsenal had centre-back Gabriel sent off yesterday, while Granit Xhaka was red-carded in last Sunday's 1-0 defeat by Burnley.

"The attitude is bad, the discipline is lacking and we have no self-confidence," he added.

Former Gunner Theo Walcott, who opened the scoring for the Saints before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's second-half equaliser, told Amazon Prime: "I felt a lot of fear in Arsenal tonight, to be honest."

Arsenal's next opponents on Sunday morning are fifth-placed Everton, who beat fourth-placed Leicester City 2-0 after besting Chelsea 1-0 last weekend. Before beating the Blues, the Toffees had lost four of their last six matches.

Everton scored via Richarlison and Mason Holgate but Carlo Ancelotti was dealt a blow when Allan came off with a hamstring injury in the first half.

Said the Champions League-winning manager: "It was a good performance, we were consistent defensively and made good use of the counter-attack...

"We found a good consistency, we didn't concede in these past two games. If you can keep clean sheets, you can win games." - REUTERS, AFP

OTHER RESULTS: Leeds 5 Newcastle 2, Fulham 0 Brighton 0, West Ham 1 Palace 1

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