What referee Martin Atkinson did before sending off Granit Xhaka as Arsenal suffered heavy loss

Granit Xhaka saw red for Arsenal in their 5-0 defeat against Manchester City on Saturday afternoon.

It’s not the first time in which the central midfielder has been given his marching orders as a Gunners player, with this latest dismissal making him one of three of the most red-carded (four) players in the Premier League since August 2016 alongside former teammate David Luiz and City’s Fernandinho.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, Xhaka ‘s moment of madness came at a time when they were 2-0 down as his lunge on Joao Cancelo effectively cost them any chance of mounting an unlikely comeback.

Without the 28-year-old, the Gunners conceded three more times either side of half-time with his absence felt most for Gabriel Jesus’ goal as City were able to cut through Mikel Arteta’s side with ease.

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As a result of the sending off, Xhaka will miss Arsenal’s next three games against Norwich City, Burnley and the Carabao Cup third-round tie at home to AFC Wimbledon.

He will be available for selection again for the huge north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur at the end of next month, although he could find it difficult to win his place back.

With Thomas Partey expected to return after the international break, Arteta will have the chance to grant a number of Arsenal fans’ wishes by pairing the Ghana international alongside £15m summer signing Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Therefore, Xhaka might be facing an even longer spell on the sidelines.

But did his reputation count against him at the Etihad Stadium?

Referee Martin Atkinson initially pulled out a yellow card following Granit Xhaka's tackle on Joao Cancelo. (Image: BT Sport)
Referee Martin Atkinson initially pulled out a yellow card following Granit Xhaka’s tackle on Joao Cancelo. (Image: BT Sport)

...before immediately upgrading it to a red. (Image: BT Sport)
…before immediately upgrading it to a red. (Image: BT Sport)

The images above shows that referee Martin Atkinson initially pulled out a yellow card following Xhaka’s tackle on Cancelo, before immediately upgrading it to a red.

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As per ex-referee Peter Walton, the red card was the correct decision as he ‘dived in out of control’ and it was deemed an act of serious foul play.

Speaking about the red card after the game, Arteta admitted he was ‘angry,’ whilst also questioning similar decisions that have gone against Arsenal this season.

“I’m angry because of the consequences that that had to the team,” he said. “We have suffered actions like that already in the last two Premier League games and nothing happened.

“We continued and after another 20 minutes Granit gets the red card and we have to play 60 minutes with 10 men against the best team in the league.

“A very difficult day, yeah.”

Source by Football London

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