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Arsenal debutant labelled ’embarrassing’ for ducking at corner before Sporting goal

Arsenal debutant labelled ’embarrassing’ for ducking at corner before Sporting goal

Jakub Kiwior, a new signing for Arsenal who cost £22 million in January, was criticized for his actions during Sporting Lisbon’s equalizer in his debut match. He was accused of being “embarrassing” for ducking before the goal.

Despite this, he was given his first start by manager Mikel Arteta in the Europa League Round of 16 first leg match held in Portugal.

William Saliba scored a goal for Arsenal in the 22nd minute after he headed in Fabio Vieira’s corner from the right.

However, just 12 minutes later, Arsenal conceded a goal from a similar set-piece as Goncalo Inacio headed the ball home from inside the six-yard box for Sporting.

Dean Ashton, a former striker for West Ham, was critical of Kiwior’s performance and urged him to be more courageous in his approach to the ball.

Speaking on commentary for talkSPORT 2, Ashton said: “It is a carbon copy of the Arsenal goal.

“A brilliant left-footed inswinging corner, Matt Turner, very similar to [Sporting goalkeeper Antonio] Adan, did absolutely nothing, feet rooted to his spot and in drifts Inacio.

“Nobody picking him up, Kiwior ducked underneath it which is embarrassing I have to say.

“And Inacio just headed it in – guided it in into the far corner – abysmal defending from Arsenal.”

Co-commentator Jim Proudfoot added: “Neither Kiwior nor Turner have covered themselves in glory there.”

Ashton then stated: “It’s just really sloppy defensively, two mistakes, one from the goalkeeper not being brave enough to just come out and deal with that when it’s on your six-yard line.

“It wasn’t as if he was even under pressure from an attacker that was on top of him.

“And then with Kiwior, he ducks underneath it with his head going back into his shell, and then we all know that face when you flinch and turn around and something comes at you very quickly.

“And instead of turning and trying to attack the ball, he’s flinching away – it’s embarrassing.”

Arsenal legend Martin Keown was also critical of Kiwior, saying on his punditry for BT Sport: “Kiwior has to do more.

“Because if I’m playing with this goalkeeper then I’m thinking I’m going to have to head more things.”

Ex-England international Rachel Brown-Finnis remarked: “For the Sporting Lisbon goal, Matt Turner hasn’t commanded his area at all.

“Jakub Kiwior doesn’t help by ducking out of the way, but it would suggest he got a call.

“Turner has to come out and clatter everyone and clear the ball. He hasn’t done anything to make his defenders feel confident.”

In the early stages of the second half, Arsenal fell behind as Paulinho scored from close range on the rebound.

Shortly after falling behind, Arsenal equalized through a deflected cross from Granit Xhaka that bounced off Sporting defender Hidemasa Morita and into the net.

Kiwior was then substituted and replaced by Gabriel Magalhaes. Despite Kiwior’s difficulties in the first half, Ashton believes that he had a decent debut overall.

He said: “He’s not going to take any glory from the way he defended from the set piece, but plenty of other aspects of his game was excellent.”

The score remained 2-2, leaving the tie evenly balanced heading into the second leg at the Emirates Stadium next week.

Arsenal debutant labelled ’embarrassing’ for ducking at corner before Sporting goal

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