Arsenal fell to a third consecutive defeat in the Premier League this season after a 5-0 thumping at Manchester City, leaving the Gunners rock bottom of the table.
Granit Xhaka only made matters worse, after he was red-carded for a dangerous tackle.
With this being the 11th red card in his career, he was subjected to heavy criticism from the media due to the unnecessary nature of the tackle.
This isn’t the first time the Swiss has come under scrutiny for his tackling, as even former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger said: “It’s more the way he tackles that is not really convincing. He doesn’t master well the technique of tackling.”
The 28-year-old joined the club in 2016 and has received three red cards in Arsenal colours.
No player has picked up more cards than Xhaka during his tenure in north London, and he holds the joint record as an Arsenal player with the most red cards in a single season (2).
He has also received an astonishing 58 yellow cards during his time at the Emirates stadium.
After the midfielder’s red card against Burnley in 2017, Wenger, who was the Arsenal manager at the time said “I think he’s not naturally a great tackler.”
This was excused by fans as Xhaka was only 23-years-old and it was his first season in the Premier League, needing time to adapt.
However, five seasons later and this excuse is no longer valid. The Swiss captain is one of the most senior players in the current squad but still displays moments of extreme naivety.
The defeat against Manchester City was the greatest proof of that.
The Gunners were 2-0 down away from home against the Premier League champions and on the ropes, needing experience and composure to prevent conceding any further.
With Xhaka being the oldest midfielder on the pitch and the player who is tasked with controlling the tempo of play, he should have played a pivotal part in providing such calmness.
However, deep into the first half Joao Cancelo had possession of the ball and was met with a needless two-footed challenge by Xhaka just inside Arsenal’s final third.
Without the need for VAR consultation, he was shown the red card, putting the team in immense desperation despite being the vice-captain.
Speaking to BT Sport Mikel Arteta expressed his frustrations with the 28-year-old and said: “I am angry because of the consequences that it had to the team.”
This red card now means that the Spaniard will be without Xhaka for the next three games. He will be absent for Premier League matches against Norwich City and Burnley, whilst the final game of his suspension will be served via the Carabao Cup third-round tie against AFC Wimbledon at the Emirates Stadium.
Wenger warned the Swiss about the timing of his tackles, saying “I would rather encourage him not to tackle, to stay on his feet and that’s the best way to deal with it. Tackling is a technique that you learn at a young age. You can improve it but when you are face to face with somebody, it’s better you stay up.”
The red card received on Saturday has left a real sour taste in supporters’ mouths due to the fact that Xhaka has just signed a new long-term contract, committing his future to the club.
He is still the perpetrator of recklessness that has let the squad down right from the moment he first joined the club five seasons ago.
Do you agree with Arsene Wenger’s advice about Xhaka’s tackling? Follow our new Arsenal Fan Brands Writer & Presenter Bailey Keogh on Twitter to get involved in the discussion and give us your thoughts in the comments section below.
Source by Football London