Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has lashed out at Granit Xhaka after his sending off in the 5-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Speaking on BT Sport commentary, as relayed by Metro, former Arsenal star and club legend Martin Keown has absolutely slammed midfielder Granit Xhaka after he was sent off against Manchester City.
Coming into the game with two losses in two league outings, Arsenal fell behind early, conceding twice in less than 15 minutes. Soon, any chances of an unlikely comeback were completely erased as referee Martin Atkinson showed Xhaka a direct red card after a rash challenge on Joao Cancelo in the 35th minute.
Manchester City went on to add another goal before half-time and scored two more in the second period to romp home to a 5-0 victory at the Etihad, leaving Arsenal in tatters. Manager Mikel Arteta now finds his job hanging by a thread, considering the amount he has spent this summer and how poor the team has looked.
Keown, who was on commentary duties for BT Sport for the game, was utterly displeased with Xhaka in particular, slamming him for his actions despite being a senior player on the field. “It’s crazy! It’s crazy why he goes off his feet at that point. You just expect so much better from your most experienced player.
No player has received more red cards (4) than Granit Xhaka since making his Premier League debut for Arsenal at the start of the 2016/17 season.
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“He’s been given one or two opportunities when people thought his career was over at Arsenal. He’s done it so many times. How many times has he done this in his career? I think it’s 44 yellow cards and four red now for Arsenal,” Keown said.
Former Chelsea winger Joe Cole echoed Keown’s sentiments, saying: “With Granit Xhaka, in modern football you cannot leave the floor. He’s done it many, many times before. He’s just signed a new contract, he’s a senior player on the pitch. In a moment when you need someone to have a cool head and he’s gone through him and it’s a sending off in modern football.”
Another former Arsenal star and club legend, Ian Wright, speaking on Premier League Productions at half-time, did not hold back in his criticism of the Swiss midfielder either. “It’s crazy (Xhaka’s tackle). You don’t need to tackle like that against anybody, it’s a terrible challenge,” he said (h/t Balls.ie).
“When you’re 2-0 down against City you need somebody like Xhaka, who is an experienced player, to be calm because this could be anything Manchester City it to be. That is a dangerous challenge, he had to go. I think they said he has been sent off 11 times now, I’m not sure what it is. I’m not sure how Mikel [Arteta] is trying to justify that.”