Mikel Arteta discusses the team spirit at Arsenal after Liverpool draw
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Jamie Carragher has stuck the boot in on Arsenal star Granit Xhaka after the Swiss midfielder was inexplicably sent off again during the Gunners 0-0 draw against Liverpool in Thursday’s Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg tie.
The midfielder was given his marching orders midway through the first half after clumsily hauling down Diogo Jota as the last man.
Xhaka has history for being dismissed in big matches for the Gunners. His red card at Anfield is already his second this season after he saw red back in August during Arsenal’s 5-0 capitulation against Manchester City.
Despite Xhaka’s ill-discipline, his team-mates dug in to ensure there isn’t a mountain to climb ahead of the return leg at the Emirates Stadium next week.
But that hasn’t spared the 29-year-old from criticism – with Carragher mocking the midfielder after the match.
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“Xhaka does what Xhaka does,” said the Liverpool icon said at half-time.
“He makes an absolutely ridiculous challenge when Jota still has so much to do.
“The way he has taken him out and with the force he does it. There’s no doubt it’s a red card.”
After the match, Carragher admitted that although Xhaka is a good player, he has proven to be a liability more often than not for Arsenal in big matches.
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“From the outside looking in, every manager picks him, so I actually think he must be a good character, a good trainer and a good lad,” he continued.
“He is a good player as well, we have seen that in a Switzerland shirt and at times in an Arsenal shirt. But it does get to the stage where he is a liability in terms of what we saw tonight.”
Xhaka’s red card is the latest twist during what has been, at times, a troubled career in north London.
The ex-Borussia Monchengladbach ace has shown commendable character to battle back from adversity after he was stripped of the club captaincy after a heated clash with fans back in 2019.
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Xhaka is a popular figure at the club, and has even seemingly won the fans back after his previous misdemeanors.
But he’s now suffered another setback and is set to miss Sunday’s crunch North London derby against Tottenham after being shown the fifth red card of his Gunners career.
After the match, Xhaka took to social media to apologise to Arsenal fans.
“I want to apologise to everyone,” he said in an Instagram post. “I am so proud of my team and the spirit that they showed to keep a clean sheet tonight.”
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