Wright slams two players who cost Arsenal their title chance; Neville claims Gunners struggled ‘mentally’

Joe Williams
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright looks annoyed

Ian Wright has singled out two Arsenal players for criticism after Mikel Arteta’s side were well beaten 3-0 by Brighton on Sunday.

Second-half goals from Julio Enciso, Deniz Undav and Pervis Estupinan earned the visitors a stunning victory at the Emirates Stadium to all but end the Gunners’ title hopes.

Manchester City will now win the Premier League title if Arsenal lose to Nottingham Forest on Saturday or they beat Chelsea a day later.

And Wright criticised Arsenal centre-back Jakub Kiwior for going down in the build-up to Enciso’s opening goal.

“I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh there’s something drastically wrong with him because he’s stopped, he’s gone down, so obviously he will not be able to play on’. I’ve never seen this before, with all due respect to him,” Wright said on Premier League Productions.

“Because if you’re bad you go off, but if you know you’re going to be able to play on…Yes he’s stepped on his foot there, his boot’s come off, I get that, but now you go, you mark and deal with it.

“Let’s face it, he’s able to play on, so that foul cannot be bad enough for him to go on his knees and the guy have a free header. That was a goal that should not have happened. To see him go down like that was really, really surprising, I thought he had a really bad injury.”

Wright also accused former Brighton player Leandro Trossard of being “flippant” to gift the Seagulls their second goal on Sunday.

The Arsenal legend added: “That is a difficult thing he’s trying, to play the ball round the corner into his team-mate with the outside of his left foot. Trossard has to read the situation, he’s got enough space to turn to his right and play it to Kieran Tierney.

“That was somebody who’s come off the bench and I don’t know if he’s up to speed with the game or whether he cares enough at that particular moment, because the way he flicked his left foot out at that was not right at that stage of the game.

“You can’t give the ball away, you can’t lose the ball. Especially in the manner he did it there, it’s almost flippant. You’re not getting away with that.”

Gary Neville has been convinced all season that Manchester City would beat Arsenal to the Premier League title despite the Gunners leading the way for most of the campaign.

And Neville thinks Arsenal have shown signs that they’ve struggled “mentally” during the title race this season.

Neville said on Sky Sports: “I do think there is an element of throwing the title away in terms of dropping points.

“‘Look, in 2023 we don’t use the same emotive language. If this was the Kevin Keegan era this Arsenal team would be being criticised badly.

“At high performance level you have to perform. The biggest moments, the most pressurised environments, you have top deliver in those moments.”

Neville continued: “The over-celebration against Villa, Zinchenko after Bournemouth, you want leaders in the team to spread composure and lift the anxiety.

“There’s an element of emotion, Xhaka at Anfield, Partey’s form dropping off, and from that it’s become tough for them mentally.”

Neville added: “We never had them in the top four. I said a few weeks ago that this has been an exceptional season for Arsenal.

“The problem for some people is it doesn’t look like a good season and they’ll find it difficult themselves but I think it’s been an outstanding season.”

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