Eleven months after Granit Xhaka’s last red card for Arsenal, the question remains if the midfielder has started to turn a corner in regard to his indiscipline. There is evidence to the contrary.
In April 2014, Xhaka picked up his first red card for a second yellow. After that, he went seven months before picking up another. But since then he’s never managed to go half a year without a suspension.
Until now, that is.
The Swiss midfielder is close to completing a full year since his last red card. So has his discipline really improved?
Well, it’s a bit early to say that. For a start, despite the lack of red cards, Xhaka has picked up enough yellow cards to leave him one away from suspension.
Part of the reason for the 25-year-old’s high card total is the sheer number of fouls he commits. Only Swansea’s Jordan Ayew (35) and Wilfried Ndidi (31) have made more fouls than Xhaka in the Premier League this season.
With the way that Arsenal expose themselves at the back, often those fouls are necessary, but that’s no excuse for not winning the ball legitimately a bit more often.
If Xhaka can control himself until the yellow cards are wiped out, and decrease his number of fouls in games, then I think we can put the disciplinary issues behind us.
Until then, it’s still a bit of a worry. He’s both combative and creative on the pitch, but needs to work on his decision-making.