Arsene Wenger met with the press on Friday morning and one member tried to get him to criticise Granit Xhaka after the midfielder was sent off for Switzerland against Portugal.
Simply asking Wenger if he had concerns about Xhaka’s discipline, it was a question that seemed innocuous but was fully loaded.
Make no doubt about it, had Wenger addressed the matter specifically we would now be reading headlines screaming about the WARNINGS issued to Xhaka about his future behaviour that would bear no relation to the comments uttered.
It’s a standard tactic and one that Arsene side-stepped like the pro that he is.
The journalist asked, “Granit Xhaka did pick up a red card, do you have any concerns about his discipline on the field at this stage?”
“We have a concern about the discipline of every player,” Wenger replied. “I believe that the results are linked with discipline. If you have no discipline it is very difficult to make results.”
It’s interesting to note that when people are quoting all these red card stats that seemingly plague Xhaka’s career, they also include two that he picked up playing for Basel’s u21s.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a player’s youth record used in this way, certainly not in relation to cards, anyway, and certainly not when he’s played 210 senior games and 48 for his country.
I’m also not saying that he’s an angel, just that he’s not the devil that some are trying to paint him as.