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Ian Wright takes aim at Arsenal defender for role in Newcastle defeat

Ian Wright takes aim at Arsenal defender for role in Newcastle defeat
The Gunners lost 2-0 to the Magpies in a huge blow to their Champions League hopes

Former Arsenal star Ian Wright has criticised Nuno Tavares for his “terrible play” against Newcastle, which left the ex-England player asking: “What are you doing?”

Tavares took a throw-in that he gave away as a foul, and it led to Newcastle’s opening goal on Monday. Arsenal went on to lose 2-0 to Eddie Howe’s side, which has left their top-four hopes hanging in the balance, and Wright said the Gunners need to stop making mistakes if they want to secure Champions League football for next season.

“When you look at the first goal, it was our throw-on,” Wright told Premier League Productions. “We’re going for top four and we’ve got players taking foul throws! It’s a foul throw! You think to yourself: ‘What are you doing?’

“Off the back of that, once it gets out to Cedric [Soares], you can’t let Allan Saint-Maximin get outside of you so easily. Cut the line off, show him inside, but bang; they’re straight into us. It’s a great cross, but at the same time that could easily have been avoided.

“When you’re going for fourth you’ve got to be more resolute than that, you can’t make mistakes like that. Yes, it’s an own goal, but we’ve been the architects of our own downfall. It’s terrible play.”

The defeat sees Arsenal in fifth in the Premier League, two points behind rivals Tottenham. It means, on the final day of the season, the Gunners need to defeat Everton and for Spurs to lose to Norwich in order for Arsenal to bag Champions League qualification.

And while Mikel Arteta’s side are still in the race for top four, Jamie Carragher believes that the Newcastle loss has sealed their fate.

“Yes, it is over [for Arsenal], and I think that’s a massive problem – not just this season,” Carragher said on Sky Sports. “I think it’s a huge problem for Mikel Arteta and this Arsenal team going forward.

“[They will be in the] Europa League next season, [playing] Thursday and Sunday. They’ve had a big opportunity this season, having no European football.

“That was a big advantage for them. They are not in the best four sides in the country, but they had an advantage on the other teams and they still haven’t made it. I do really fear for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta next season, that’s a real bad one tonight.”