Wenger: Xhaka ‘punishes’ Arsenal with bad tackling

Date published: Monday 23rd January 2017 10:20

Arsene Wenger could not hide his frustration with Granit Xhaka after the midfielder was sent off against Burnley.

Xhaka received a straight red card for a second-half challenge on Steven Defour which, although it was debated that it did not warrant a sending off, almost cost his side victory.

Arsenal had taken the lead through Shkodran Mustafi in the 59th minute, with Xhaka sent off in the 65th.

It looked as though the hosts would hold on for a crucial three points before Francis Coquelin conceded a penalty which Andre Gray converted in the third minute of stoppage time.

But the Gunners salvaged a win when Alexis Sanchez scored from the spot five minutes later, Laurent Koscielny having been fouled by Ben Mee. Arsenal triumphed in the face of absurdity yet again.

Speaking after the game, Wenger claimed that Xhaka, who will miss the next four games as this is his second red card of the season, “punishes” the team with his poor tackling.

“The noises I get is that it was a red card,” he said .”He has to control his game and not punish the team with a lack of control in his tackling.

“We don’t encourage our midfielders to go down on tackles. We want them to stand up and not make these kind of fouls. If it is a bad tackle, it is a red card.”

Asked whether he was disappointed in the £33.8million summer signing, Wenger added: “I am disappointed that we played with 10 men.

“We have got two red cards and [conceded] four penalties at home now so you cannot say that we make it easy for ourselves or that we get it easy.

“In the end, we still got an unlikely win, because when you are 10 against 11 with two minutes to go it is difficult to win the game but we are a team who keeps going no matter what happens and that is a good quality.”

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