Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has spoken up in defence of his teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, after the forward missed a late penalty and blew a golden opportunity to win the north London derby against Spurs on Saturday.
In an exhilarating clash, the Gunners took an early lead as Aaron Ramsey expertly rounded Hugo Llloris and tucked home a cool finish. Mauricio Pochettino's side hit back midway through the second half, via Harry Kane's clinical penalty. Aubameyang was then felled in the penalty box in the 89th minute, but hit his penalty straight at the Spurs stopper.
Speaking after the clash at Wembley, via the Evening Standard, Xhaka spoke up for his teammate despite the miss, and said: "If you take a penalty in the derby you have big balls. Not all of the players would have taken this one. So we are happy he took the penalty. If he scores he scores, if he doesn’t score he doesn’t score. This is football.
"In this moment (when a penalty is missed) you have to leave the player alone, because he has a lot to think. He was of course not that happy. But we are a team, and we win and lose together. So he was unlucky today but he helps us a lot in games so it’s not something big."
Spurs and Arsenal sharing the spoils allowed Manchester United and Chelsea to make up ground in the race to secure a top four finish, as both teams pulled off wins over the weekend. As things stand, just five points separate the four clubs, and with nine matches of the season to go, the battle for Champions League qualification looks set to go down to the wire.
In other news, former Gunners star Robert Pires has claimed that signing Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Adrian Rabiot should be a 'no-brainer' for Unai Emery. The want-away midfielder is set to leave the Ligue 1 champions upon the expiry of his contract in the summer, and Pires has earmarked the Frenchman as an ideal replacement for Juventus-bound Ramsey