Arsenal midfielder, Granit Xhaka has taken to his Instagram page to appreciate his teammates for helping him to clean the mess he made during the Carabao Cup game between Arsenal and Liverpool on Thursday, January 13, 2022.
The 29-year-old Swiss defensive midfielder is one of the elders at Arsenal but the most red-carded in the current coach Mikel Arteta’s squad.
Since he joined Arsenal from Borussia Mönchengladbach on July 1, 2016, for a transfer fee worth €45 million, the defensive midfielder has been red-carded 5 different times.
In the Carabao Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Liverpool at Anfield Stadium on Thursday, the Switzerland international spent only 24 minutes on the pitch before he was sent out.
As experienced as he is expected to be, Xhaka felt the best way to stop Liverpool’s Diogo Jota from scoring was to kick him on the chest. The offense was outrageous enough for him to get a straight red card.
At that point, all the spectators at Anfield and viewers at home thought Liverpool would humiliate Arsenal since the club played with a man down. But coach Mikel Arteta was able to set up his team so well that Liverpool could not score throughout the game.
All the Arsenal players on the pitch had to step up their game so well that the absence of Granit Xhaka did not cost them the match. One of Arsenal’s shining lights during the game was Ben White who ended the game as the man of the match.
At the end of the day, Arsenal ran away with a 0-0 draw and would have to wait for Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium on Thursday, January 20, for the return leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final match. Any team that wins the return leg would progress to the final of the tournament to face Chelsea.
After the Carabao Cup semi-final game at Anfield, Granit Xhaka took to his Instagram page to apologize for his reckless challenge on Jota which almost cost his team the game.
He wrote: “I want to apologize to everyone. I am so proud of my team and the spirit that they showed to keep a clean sheet tonight.”
This is not the first time that Xhaka has caused Arsenal trouble this year. Recall that on January 1, 2022, when Manchester City visited the Emirates Stadium for a Premier League game, the Swiss defensive midfielder decided to hold Silva’s shirt in the eighteen-yard box.
After a VAR review, a penalty was awarded against Arsenal which Riyad Mahrez converted to cancel Arsenal’s 1-0 lead. Manchester City ended up winning the game 2-1.
Afterward, Xhaka came to Instagram to write: “That result really hurts… we gave our absolute all out there. Thanks for your amazing support in the stadium today”.
Granit Xhaka has caused a bigger problem for Arsenal
The red card that Granit Xhaka received during the Carabao Cup semi-final match between Arsenal and Liverpool on Thursday would affect Arsenal in the Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, January 16.
The red card would force Xhaka to miss the Premier League game which means that coach Mikel Arteta would have no reliable midfielder for the game.
Recall that Arsenal are currently without the following midfielders Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny. They are with their national teams in the ongoing AFCON.
Other midfielders like Martin Odegaard and Emile Smith Rowe are out with fitness issues. While Ainsley Maitland-Niles has been loaned to Roma. The only option left for coach Arteta ahead of the Premier League game is Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Hence, it would be interesting to see how Arsenal would cope against Antonio Conte-led Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday especially now that he is left with little or no options in the midfield area of the team.