A closer look at Granit Xhaka’s Arsenal red cards – Sports Mole

Granit Xhaka was sent off for the fifth time in Arsenal colours during the Gunners’ EFL Cup semi-final first leg with Liverpool on Thursday night.

The 29-year-old caught Diogo Jota with a high boot to the chest when the Portuguese was through on goal and was deservedly sent for an early bath, but Mikel Arteta‘s side still held on for a goalless draw.

Xhaka has hit out at his perceived unfair treatment compared to other players when it comes to discipline, but since his Arsenal debut in 2016, no Premier League player has been sent off as many times as the Switzerland captain in all competitions.

Here, Sports Mole takes a closer look at the five red cards that Xhaka has accrued during his time in North London.

1. Swansea City – Premier League – October 2016

Granit Xhaka is sent off for Arsenal against Swansea City in October 2016© Reuters

It took until Xhaka’s seventh Premier League game for him to receive his marching orders for the first time in Arsenal colours, as Arsene Wenger‘s side welcomed Swansea City to the Emirates in October 2016.

With the Gunners 3-2 up heading into the final 20 minutes, Xhaka inexplicably brought down Modou Barrow from behind as he raced away down the right-hand side, with Jonathan Moss dishing out a straight red card for the tackle.

Xhaka’s sending off led to a nervy finish in North London, but Arsenal still held on to the win thanks to Theo Walcott (2) and Mesut Ozil‘s finishes before their teammate’s first red card for the club.

2. Burnley – Premier League – January 2017

Granit Xhaka is sent off for Arsenal against Burnley in January 2017© Reuters

Barely three months after seeing red against Swansea, Xhaka was once again made to take the walk of shame in front of his own fans, this time during the visit of Burnley in January 2017.

Shkodran Mustafi‘s header had broken the deadlock just before the hour mark, but Xhaka once again forced his side to do it the hard way – giving the ball away before attempting to win it back from Steven Defour – but he caught the Belgian with a dreadful two-footed studs-up challenge.

Moss consulted the linesman before issuing a second straight red to the Switzerland captain in the 2016-17 season, but Arsenal still ran out 2-1 winners after Andre Gray and Alexis Sanchez‘s late penalty drama.

3. Burnley – Premier League – December 2020

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka is shown a red card against Burnley on December 13, 2020© Reuters

Xhaka would go nearly four years without another red card in Arsenal colours and won the trust of Mikel Arteta following the Spaniard’s arrival, but old habits would present themselves once again during the visit of Burnley in December 2020.

With the Gunners already struggling to perform on the night, Xhaka reacted poorly to a skirmish with a few Burnley players, catching Ashley Westwood around the neck and leaving Graham Scott no choice but to send him off after a VAR check.

While Arsenal had previously clung on to narrow wins following Xhaka’s dismissals, there was no such luck this time, as the Clarets ran out 1-0 victors at the Emirates thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s own goal.

4. Manchester City – Premier League – August 2021

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka is shown a red card by referee Martin Atkinson on August 28, 2021© Reuters

With Arsenal’s frustration already boiling over against Manchester City at the start of the current season – going 2-0 down within the first 15 minutes – Xhaka made Arsenal’s task even more difficult in the first half.

The former Borussia Monchengladbach man once again flew in off the ground with studs showing on Joao Cancelo, and while he would clearly make contact with the ball, Martin Atkinson still gave him his marching orders.

Arsenal were already struggling to compete with the rampant champions with 11 men on the field, but Xhaka’s sending off just rubbed the salt into the wounds for those brave away souls who made the journey to the Etihad.

5. Liverpool – EFL Cup – January 2022

Granit Xhaka is sent off for Arsenal against Liverpool on January 13, 2022© Reuters

After recovering from a bout of COVID-19, Xhaka made an expected return to the Arsenal starting XI for the trip to Anfield as one of only two senior midfielders – alongside Albert Sambi Lokonga – available to Arteta.

However, with Kieran Tierney pushed up field, Xhaka – who has featured as a left-back in the past – tried to cover for the Scotsman when Andy Robertson‘s pinpoint long ball found its way to Diogo Jota in the first half.

Xhaka proceeded to lash his foot high into the air in an attempt to prevent Jota scoring a likely goal, with his boot connecting with the Liverpool man’s chest, and Michael Oliver brandished the red card without a second of hesitation to add to Arteta’s midfield crisis.

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