Granit Xhaka arrived here with a red card rep so strong that Jon Moss even invented a new rule just to send him off, but he has no plans to change anytime soon.
Although his red card record isn’t actually as bad as people make it out to be (and he shouldn’t have been sent off this season), Xhaka doesn’t actually care about it.
Speaking to FourFourTwo for their latest edition, the Swiss admitted that he is, in fact, that kind of player. I don’t think he meant that kind of player, but who knows.
“I have been booked many times and received a lot of red cards – that’s what I’m known for – but I am that kind of player.
“If I can’t play that way I lose a lot of my quality,” he told FFT.
“It’s not a question of discipline – my style of play is aggressive, and that means I sometimes get into trouble.”
Although it took him a while to settle, Xhaka has started the last eight Premier League matches and ten of the last 13 games since the start of November, one of which was the EFL Cup.
He is averaging an 89% pass completion rate in the league, 2% higher than Mesut Ozil (although 2% worse than Aaron Ramsey and 3% worse than Elneny who leads the way on 93%). He has scored 1, assisted 1, played 12 key passes, created 13 chances with a longer average pass length than any other Arsenal midfielder (although Elneny comes close).
He has also made 27 interceptions, 20 clearances and picked up fewer yellows than Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin.
And, as I mentioned, the red doesn’t count.