“He will make his mistakes, but he always plays” – Paul Merson claims Arsenal are still a ‘better team’ with Granit Xhaka 

Paul Merson has defended Granit Xhaka despite his sending off
Paul Merson has defended Granit Xhaka despite his sending off

Former Arsenal star Paul Merson has praised Granit Xhaka’s attitude despite the midfielder getting sent off against Liverpool in their last game.

The Gunners had to play with ten men for more than a half following Xhaka’s straight red in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

Arsenal held on to a gritty 0-0 draw but Xhaka earned some criticism on social media following yet another dismissal in an Arsenal jersey.

"An absolutely RIDICULOUS challenge!"@Carra23 takes a closer look at the tackle which resulted in Granit Xhaka's red card early on in Arsenal's goalless draw with Liverpool

The red was Xhaka’s second of the season. However, Merson feels despite his disciplinary issues, the Swiss international always shows determination on the pitch.

“He will run through a brick wall for you. He will make his mistakes, he will get his sending-offs and he will get his yellow cards, but he always plays. I think they are a better team with him in it. That’s a compliment,” Merson said.

Granit Xhaka’s suspension could cost Arsenal

Arsenal’s squad is already stretched because of several COVID-19 cases as well as injuries.

Mikel Arteta also lost Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey to the AFCON earlier this month, so Xhaka’s absence will be a big loss for the manager.

The Gunners might receive a bit of reprove as they have too many injuries and positive cases for Sunday’s north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur to go ahead.

Xhaka, on the other hand, will be disappointed he wasn’t able to help his side for the entirety of the game.

13 red cards under Mikel Arteta, and 21 of them were Luiz and Xhaka combined…

Arsenal did not see much of the ball following Xhaka’s departure but defended well to pick up a draw. The tie is nicely poised heading into the second leg next Thursday.

Xhaka’s application on the pitch in terms of his passing and distribution adds a lot to the team. But the Switzerland international needs to be more careful with his tackling.

The 29-year old has picked up a whopping 46 yellow cards and four red cards in the Premier League for Arsenal, and that is too much for a player in a key midfield role.

Xhaka later apologized on social media for his red card against Liverpool, but it might not mean much to the Arsenal fans, who are growing impatient with his disciplinary record.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande

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