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Arteta responds to Xavi’s jibe about Arsenal

Mikel Arteta, Xavi Hernandez
© Ace Football

The FC Barcelona head coach was taken aback by the intensity of his side’s friendly against Arsenal.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has played down Xavi Hernandez’s remarks about how the Gunners treated their friendly against FC Barcelona.

On Wednesday, Arsenal defeated Barcelona in a 5-3 thriller in Los Angeles. It took only seven minutes for the first goal of the game. Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha put Barca in front twice, before Leandro Trossard’s second-half brace handed Arsenal control of the match. Fabio Vieira scored the club’s fifth goal to seal the win, barely a minute after Ferran Torres pegged one back for Xavi’s team.

But it wasn’t the defeat that surprised Xavi, it was the great intensity shown by Arsenal.

“I told Arteta that it looked like a Champions League match. The intensity that they [Arsenal] put on was too high,” the Barcelona boss commented.

In response to Xavi’s remarks, Arteta said: “Football belongs to the players. They are very competitive. We are playing in front of 70,000 people and the player rebels.

“It’s not in our hands. We can have our ideas. At the moment the ball started rolling, when they scored a goal, when they made a foul… there was a change there.”

Arsenal will be back in action next Wednesday for the Emirates Cup final against AS Monaco in London.