Mikel Arteta says Granit Xhaka made an unacceptable and damaging mistake as Arsenal lost to Burnley on Sunday.
Granit Xhaka picked up a red card in a moment of stupidity this weekend. After a relatively low-profile foul, Xhaka overreacted to incitement by his opposite number, starting a shouting match before grabbing another player by the throat.
It all seemed to come from nothing, and it totally killed the game for Arsenal. After making a decent start to the second half and looking the more likely to score, they ended up losing 1-0.
Mikel Arteta admitted Xhaka had made a mistake afterwards, putting his team in trouble in an unacceptable manner.
“He’s made a mistake, clearly,” Arteta said. “The way the game was going, the dominance that we had… it was a game that we had to win and with 10 men it makes it much more difficult. You give the opponent a chance and you end up losing.
“I think it was unacceptable to do that action and the players are in a moment that they are so willing to do more and fight more and show how committed they are, to be alive in the game, that on this occasion Granit has overstepped the line.”
Mohamed Elneny should have been sent off too, pushing a Burnley player in the face. It was surprising not to see the referee brandish a second red, and it was almost like he felt sympathetic to Arsenal with the game falling apart so badly.
Arteta said he hadn’t seen it, but condemned the actions all the same.
“It’s another action with Mo that I haven’t seen, but it looks similar,” Arteta went on. “We cannot make those mistakes because they’re the wrong approach to what we’re trying to do.”
Xhaka will now serve a three-game suspension. Elneny should arguably receive an internal ban as well, but with the lack of options in midfield at the moment, that seems unlikely.