GRAEME SOUNESS tore into Arsenal’s coaching staff for making Mohamed Elneny a marker at set-pieces – and even Arsene Wenger felt his wrath.
The Gunners suffered a fourth consecutive home defeat last night as a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang own goal condemned them to a 1-0 setback.
Graeme Souness has ripped into Mohamed Elneny following the Arsenal midfielder’s incident with James TarkowskiCredit: EPA
The Egyptian place both hands in the Burnley defender’s face while trying to defend a cornerCredit: PA:Press Association
Mikel Areteta’s side were also reduced to ten men following Granit Xhaka’s red card on a miserable night for the North London side.
And it could have been even worse after an incident involving Elneny.
While defending a Burnley corner, the Egyptian pushed his hands into James Tarkowski’s face before then going to ground himself.
Elneny was booked, with many feeling he was fortunate to escape with just a yellow.
Former LIverpool and Blackburn boss Souness, working as pundit for Sky Sports, does not believe the ex-Basel midfielder has the tactical nous to cope with that situation and he hit out at whoever selected him to defend the corner.
He said: “You’re setting your team up yesterday defensively. Who in his staff has thought it would be a good idea for Elneny to be a marker at a set-piece when Elneny is ignoring the ball completely and just staring at his man and pushes the guy down, he goes down pretending he’s been pushed. He should have been sent off there.
“Who has looked at the situation and thought ‘he could be one of our markers?’. If he does that once you don’t have him anywhere near marking a player.”
He continued: “That guy’s 28 years old. Someone in his staff must have seen that and thought, ‘not sure about that boss, let’s put someone else there’.
“Someone on his staff has to go, ‘that’s down to me’. Did you ever play with a player who did that? I never.
“You learn at 15, 16 how to mark properly and if you’ve got half a brain it’s in your head forever. Don’t tell me that Elneny’s not marked someone in the past at a set-piece for Arsenal and shown signs that he might not be very good.
“They could easily have gone down to nine men tonight, and in my opinion should have gone down to nine men.
“Someone in the coaching staff must have seen that in him and thought ‘we can’t have him anywhere near marking someone.”
Ex-Arsenal boss Wenger splashed out to bring Elneny to the Emirates from Basel in 2016.
And Souness even went on to blame the legendary Frenchman – who left the Gunners two years ago.
He added: “That has to go back to Arsene Wenger. He signed him.
“Whoever signed him and worked with him for a period of time.
“Him or his coaches have got to say this is how you mark.”
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