By Harry Sykes
Arsenal fans were not amused on Twitter after Granit Xhaka’s second red card for Arsenal this season, in the 2-1 win against Burnley at the Emirates.
Xhaka was sent off for a reckless challenge on Burnley’s Steven Defour in the 65th minute. After giving the ball away he tried to rectify his mistake, diving in with two feet which earned him a straight red.
It meant that Arsenal had to play the last 25 minutes with ten men, and they managed to hold on until the 93rd minute when Andre Gray equalised from the penalty spot.
In an incredible finish Koscielny earned the Gunners a penalty in the 97th minute, which Alexis Sanchez took to claim the valuable three points for his team.
Xhaka was sent off in the Premier League for Arsenal against Swansea earlier in the season and served a two-match suspension. Now Arsenal will have to do without their midfield enforcer for four matches this time, with Mohamed Elneny still on international duty at the Africa Cup of Nations and Santi Cazorla injured.
Including international matches, Xhaka has now been sent off three times this season and, as pointed out by Squawka, he’s been sent off five times since the start of last season – the most of any player in Europe’s top five leagues.
Granit Xhaka has been sent off more times (5) than any other player in Europe's top 5 leagues since the start of last season. 🔴 pic.twitter.com/6pPrENI9ko
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 22, 2017
Arsenal fans on Twitter weren’t amused, with some fans reacting angrily, although not everyone thought the red card was warranted and one pointed out that Patrick Vieira used to be applauded for similar tackles.
Here is a selection of their messages:
Xhaka is a liability….
There, I said it, it IS a red card, No argument for me.
His stupid petulance could cost us…#AFC
— Kris 🇨🇵 ⭐⭐ (@AFCfreddie8) January 22, 2017
Viera was applauded for his ability to get sent off,that was called passion. Xhaka does same, he's called an idiot. #afc fans smh
— TonyThe🇬🇭Gooner (@TommySam6) January 22, 2017
— tosin (@TosinAFC) January 22, 2017
Another referee pandering to Xhaka's reputation. Really feel for the lad. #afc
— danny payne (@danny_payne) January 22, 2017
Another red card for Xhaka…..don't really think he touched him that much…but feet off the ground….glad Coqilein is back #afc
— ian shepherd (@shepkids4) January 22, 2017
— Conor Hession (@ConorHession) January 22, 2017
— Alex (@AlexandraJBarth) January 22, 2017
— Dean shepperson (@sheppywoo) January 22, 2017
Xhaka said a few weeks back that, in terms of aggression, he "won't change for anyone". You… you should probably change a bit. #AFC
— Joe Wright (@JoeWright004) January 22, 2017
The win meant that Arsenal moved into second place in the Premier League, five points behind Chelsea who are playing Hull in the 4.30pm kick-off on Sunday.
They leap-frogged Tottenham (who drew with Man City) and Liverpool (who lost to Swansea), and will be hoping that Hull can deliver one of the shocks of the season at Stamford Bridge.
Granit Xhaka signed for £38million from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2016 and has since become a regular in the Arsenal first team.
He has made 27 appearances in all competitions, scoring three goals and delivering one assist. He now has more red cards than assists though – a statistic that manager Arsene Wenger won’t like one bit.
In other Arsenal news, Thierrry Henry has weighed in on the contract stand-off between Arsenal and Mesut Ozil.