BBC pundit: This Arsenal player does something stupid every game
By Harry Sykes
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka does “something stupid” every match he plays in, according to BBC pundit Kevin Kilbane.
The former Everton midfielder was critical of Xhaka for conceding the penalty that put Arsenal on the back foot in their 3-1 Premier League win against Stoke on Saturday.
The Switzerland international caught Joe Allen in the penalty box with an elbow 27 minutes into the fixture and a penalty was awarded.
Charlie Adam coolly dispatched the spot-kick to put Stoke 1-0 up before Theo Walcott levelled for the home side shortly before half-time. Goals from Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi in the second half sealed the points for Arsene Wenger’s side and lifted them to the top of the Premier League.
Kilbane was unimpressed with Xhaka, whose Arsenal career has been besieged by discipline problems since his summer arrival from Borussia Mochengladbach.
“It looked like a penalty to me initially, because Granit Xhaka goes over the top on Joe Allen,” Kilbane said, as quoted by the live blog of the Arsenal-Stoke match on the BBC Sport website.
“Xhaka does something stupid every game he plays in, he’s on the edge for no reason.”
The 24-year-old has already been sent off since joining Arsenal with a red against Swansea ruling him out of fixtures against Middlesbrough and Sunderland in the league, and Reading in the League Cup.
His performances have also been mixed, although he has started more regularly in central midfield since Santi Cazorla broke down in mid-October with an achilles problem.
Xhaka paired first choice Francis Coquelin against Stoke on Saturday after getting the nod to start ahead of Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny, who were both on the bench.
It was Xhaka’s 19th appearance for Arsenal, although only his eighth league start out of a possible 15 matches.
In other Arsenal news, fans have reacted to Jack Wilshere winning a player of the month award.