Arsenal star Granit Xhaka was sent off against Manchester City yesterday, but the Swiss star would’ve been safe if he had listened to what Arsene Wenger said back in 2017.
The Gunners were absolutely humiliated at the Etihad on Saturday. We went 2-0 down after 12 minutes and a comeback from that point was always improbable, but Xhaka’s red card made it impossible.
The 29-year-old lunged in with two feet to stop Joao Cancelo from keeping hold of possession. Xhaka very clearly got the ball and the red card was extremely harsh considering some of the tackles we’ve been on the end of in the past, but it was a dangerous challenge.
The referee handed him his marching orders and Mikel Arteta was furious with the decision. However, this could’ve easily been avoided if Xhaka had listened to Wenger’s public advice to him four years ago.
Arsene Wenger: How Granit Xhaka can avoid red cards
Back in January 2017, Xhaka was sent off in a game against Burnley after a clumsy tackle. Wenger addressed the problem in his press conference post-game and his solution was brilliant.
He said, as per Arsenal.com: “I felt that the sending off was harsh when I watched it again. It was not a dangerous tackle, it was a clumsy tackle. You have to accept that he can be punished for these kinds of tackles now. He has to learn from that.
“(I am) more (concerned) about his (tackling) technique, I think he’s not naturally a great tackler and in his decision-making, I think he is quite intelligent on the pitch. But it’s more the way he tackles that is not really convincing. He doesn’t master well the technique of tackling.
“I would rather encourage him not to tackle, to stay on his feet and that’s the best way to deal with it. Tackling is a technique that you learn at a young age. You can improve it but when you are face to face with somebody, it’s better you stay up.”
If Xhaka had listened to Wenger’s advice, he would’ve stayed up yesterday, and that would’ve saved him from his red card. Sadly, that didn’t happen and it made Manchester City’s life a whole lot easier – not that it was difficult before the sending off.