Granit Xhaka has come in for some heavy criticism following his performance against Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby.
Just five minutes before the half-time interval of this weekend’s clash against Spurs – with his side already trailing their fierce rivals 1-0 on home soil – the 26-year-old decided to completely throw himself into an unneeded challenge with Spurs winger Son Heung-min, whose lightening-quick feet were, predictably, too quick for the Gunners midfielder to handle.
This led to him bringing the South Korean down in the area and a penalty being awarded to the visitors. Harry Kane duly obliged from 12 yards, putting Tottenham two goals in front before the break.
Amazingly, Xhaka escaped a booking for his rash challenge on Son, with referee Martin Atkinson clearly in a lenient mood as he then let him off the hook for a series of other challenges before the full-time whistle blew at the Emirates.
Atkinson did brandish him with a yellow right at the death, however. Astonishingly, that booking was the Switzerland international’s 39th since he joined the Gunners from German side Borussia Mönchengladbach in 2016.
The 26-year-old has since come in for some stick after Sunday’s performance against Spurs, with former player-turned-pundit Paul Merson admitting to Sky Sports (via Football.London) that he “doesn’t know” what the midfielder brings to the party.
Here’s how Arsenal fans reacted on Twitter…
That’s so disrespectful. What about angry faces and inspiring tweets?
— Bozinka (@thef777) September 4, 2019
For a football pundit not know why we play Xhaka is ridiculous. He is clearly there as the deep lying playmaker. He spreads the ball well, has more passes than anyone on the pitch. That is what he brings. But his mistakes and lack of mobility is why he needs to leave.
— Arsenal Optimist (@CWoodhouse16) September 4, 2019
This is me explaining to rival fans
— SHO 🐺🇻🇨 (@ShoShallow) September 3, 2019
Paul Merson reaction to that question is exactly how arsenal fans feel in general!
— GoonerDan88 (@Dan88Gooner) September 3, 2019
I think Paul’s trying to say he doesn’t know. Over to you…
— Abu Yousef (@GGSEurope) September 3, 2019
Arsenal fans, are you in agreement with Merson? Let us know in the comments!
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