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Arteta wants Luiz to stay at Arsenal despite Man City horror show

After 100 days without top-flight football the Premier League is back, but the restart didn't go as the Gunners - or their Brazilian defender - would have hoped

17 June, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta said his opinion of David Luiz ‘won’t change just because he had a difficult performance tonight’

Premier League

MANCHESTER CITY 3 (Sterling 45+2, De Bruyne 51 pen, Foden 90+1)
ARSENAL 0 (Luiz sent off 49)

MIKEL Arteta insists he still wants David Luiz to stay at Arsenal, despite his horror show against Manchester City this evening (Wednesday).

Luiz started the game at the Etihad Stadium on the bench, but was soon given the chance to prove his worth when he came on midway through the first-half following an injury to Pablo Mari.

Far from showing that he is worth a new one-year deal, however, the Brazilian put in a disastrous display that left some Arsenal fans hoping the defender will never play for the club again.

Luiz’s miserable night started on the stroke of half-time when he failed to clear Kevin De Bruyne’s pass, allowing the ball to bounce off his knee and straight into the path of Raheem Sterling, who fired home with aplomb.

The defender was then sent off just minutes into the second half after pulling back Riyad Mahrez in the box. It was an error that gifted De Bruyne the chance to double City’s lead from the penalty spot, which he coolly accepted.

Despite Luiz’s catalogue of errors, however, Gunners boss Arteta says he would like to see the 33-year-old add another year to his current contract, which is due to expire next month.

“David is very honest and straightforward, and has already spoken to the players in the dressing room,” he said.

“My opinion of him hasn’t changed, and it won’t change just because he had a difficult performance tonight.”

Before the game Arteta revealed he “would love” to keep Luiz in north London, praising his “influence around the players and the club”.

Luiz was quick to own up to his mistakes after the final whistle. He said: “It was not the team’s fault it was my fault. The coach is amazing, all the players did amazing, it was just my fault.

“I love to be here, that is why I continue to train hard. I want to stay. The coach knows and wants me to stay, we are waiting for the decisions.”

But following a night in which Arteta admitted “everything went wrong from the first minute”, Arsenal supporters may not be as forgiving.

It has been 100 days since a ball was last kicked in the Premier League because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The eagerly awaited return saw the Gunners make a bright start in rainy Manchester. But it was the hosts who fashioned the first real chance when, with just minutes on the clock, De Bruyne forced Bernd Leno into a fingertips save with a testing free-kick.

Arsenal then suffered a double injury blow. First Granit Xhaka left the field on a stretcher with what appeared to be an ankle injury, replaced by Dani Ceballos.

Then, in the 24th minute, Mari pulled up with a hamstring injury, bringing Luiz into the action.

Leno had to be at his very best to keep City at bay, with the pick of his saves one that saw the Gunners goalkeeper drop low down to his left to thwart David Silva.

But just when Leno thought he’d got his side into the break level, Sterling capitalised on Luiz’s clumsy attempt to clear his lines.

Things went from bad to worse for Arsenal in the second half as the questionable decision-making that has plagued Luiz’s career again surfaced – this time in the shape of a 25-minute cameo fitting for an empty stadium.

Substitute Phil Foden netted a third for City in injury time, capitalising on a rebound from Sergio Aguero’s strike.

MAN CITY: Ederson, Walker, Garcia, Laporte (Fernandinho, 70), Mendy, Gundogan, D Silva (B Silva, 65), De Bruyne (Rodri, 70), Mahrez (Foden, 65), Sterling, Jesus (Aguero, 80)
Substitutes not used: Carson, Zinchenko, Otamendi

ARSENAL: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Mari (Luiz, 24), Tierney, Guendouzi (Maitland-Niles, 67), Xhaka (Ceballos, 8), Willock (Nelson, 67), Saka, Aubameyang, Nketiah (Lacazette, 67)
Substitutes not used: Martinez, Pepe, Kolasinac, Martinelli

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