'No reaction': Two Sky Sports pundits criticise Newcastle's new signing after Arsenal display

Graeme Souness working for Sky Sports

Newcastle United lost 4-0 at Arsenal on Sunday afternoon.

Graeme Souness working for Sky Sports

Pundits Graeme Souness and Chris Hughton have both told Sky Sports (16/02, 18:35) that they think Newcastle United's Valentino Lazaro was at fault for two goals against Arsenal.

The Magpies made the trip down to North London to take on the Gunners on Sunday evening, and turned in a strong first half performance as they looked the most dangerous side.

However, Arsenal came out roaring in the second half, with Nicolas Pepe crossing for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score before Pepe found the net himself, converting Bukayo Saka's cross.

Mesut Ozil made it 3-0, before Pepe picked up his second assist of the game by picking out Alexandre Lacazette to seal a 4-0 win late in the day.

 

Newcastle's capitulation in the second half was driven by a number of disappointing performances, and Lazaro had a second half to forget.

The Austrian international was making his first league start since signing on loan from Inter Milan in January, and he thrived in the first half with promising speed, attacking play and use of the ball.

However, Lazaro was caught out for Arsenal's first two goals, and ex-Newcastle managers Souness and Hughton both criticised him after the game.

Souness felt that Lazaro was actually being warned about Aubameyang by Federico Fernandez, but didn't defend well enough, then allowed Saka to turn him and create the second goal, believing he won't play Premier League football for long if he doesn't learn quickly.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal scores his sides first goal  during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2020 in London,...

Hughton felt that Lazaro not only made a mistake in allowing Saka to turn, but then didn't show any real reaction to salvage the situation, with the Newcastle new boy heavily criticised.

“If you watch Fernandez, he’s pointing out to Lazaro, he’s got his right arm out - ‘pick him up, pick him up’ - he’s worried about the centre of the goal. Lazaro doesn’t do it, and it’s a free header near enough, Lazaro is behind him. He doesn’t [ever get into the right position], it’s all down to him. He can’t affect the game there, he can’t affect the header, and then Lazaro is again at fault for the second goal,” said Souness.

“Once Lazaro comes out, what he can’t afford to do is he can’t afford to let him turn, and also, once he plays the ball through his legs, there’s no reaction. Lazaro can’t allow him to turn there, and as soon as he does, he leaves himself vulnerable for what happened,” added Hughton.

“He jogged out to him. You’ve got to sprint out to him, keep him facing away from goal, do not let him turn. It might sound cynical but foul him, take a card there, you just can’t allow him to skip past you, and that’s how the intensity of the English Premier League catches out foreign players. If he doesn’t [learn], he won’t play Premier League football for very long - these are two very, very obvious mistakes,” continued Souness.

Football manager Chris Hughton is seen at the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Vitality Stadium on November 23, 2019 in Bournemouth, United...

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