Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has already got up to his old antics this season by picking by up a booking in the Gunners’ opening day win over Crystal Palace. The booking would surely have frustrated Gooners who were watching and indeed infuriated former Gunners star Lee Dixon.
The former Arsenal man could not hide his disappointment with the Swiss international, telling NBC Sport (via HITC):
“Let’s just wait until the second half and see if another yellow comes out. That is a dive, quite rightly booked and for a man of his experience, stupid!”
The north Londoners controlled proceedings early on in the game and took the lead after 20 minutes after new boy Oleksandre Zinchenko found Gabriel Martinelli to make it 1-0. However, Xhaka’s antics would ensure that Arteta would not be too comfortable at the break, with the former Borussia Monchengladbach man getting booked just before half-time on 44 minutes.
Arteta will hope that Xhaka can cut that aspect out of his game as soon as possible and provide the calming and commanding role he has been expected to give in the Gunners’ midfield. However, with his tendency to commit pointless fouls and him getting booked for simulation, Arsenal fans might be in for a long season with the midfielder.
Granit Xhaka will need to improve as Arsenal hope to continue with win momentum
Arsenal will still be riding high following their opening day win against impressive opposition on the road. Nevertheless, Dixon and the Gunners’ faithful will hope Xhaka can keep his cool and avoid drawing similarly silly cards as the season progresses.
The Swiss midfielder is usually better known for getting booked as a result of his tendency to commit rash fouls. However, he was found guilty of simulation in this case. Xhaka went down without any contact from Danish defender Joachim Anderson in an attempt to win a foul for his side in midfield and drew a yellow card for his troubles.
The Swiss midfielder would however keep his cool and help the Gunners see out a comfortable 2-0 win in the second half. However, it will surely be frustrating to see the player continue to draw needless bookings.
Arsenal face Leicester City next, and with Xhaka a central part of plans at the club, Arteta will hope a similarly silly card can be avoided.