Granit Xhaka defends poor disciplinary record at Arsenal

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Granit Xhaka says he will continue to take risks and cannot change his style of play in response to Arsenal’s recent poor disciplinary record.

The Switzerland international was dismissed in the first leg of the Gunners’ Carabao Cup semi final with Liverpool. They held on for a draw in that game but the Reds were victorious in the return fixture, with Thomas Partey also seeing red late on.

Arsenal have received 14 red cards since Mikel Arteta became manager in December 2019 and have been criticised for a lack of composure. But Xhaka, who has garnered a reputation for early baths, claims he has to make challenges that run the risk of being punished.

“It’s not like I’m planning this. It’s not like I’m doing this on purpose. But sometimes, I am in a position where I have to take a 50:50. It’s risky, of course. Now people will say, ‘Yeah, but why do you always [take] risks?'” he told Sky Sports.

The Swiss was sent off against Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Thursday night.

“This is who I am. I can’t change myself from today to tomorrow,” he said. “Of course, I need to improve and I know it. But in this moment, if [Diogo] Jota takes the ball and he scores, they will say again, ‘Why didn’t you stop him?’ Now, I stop him, they say, ‘Why do you get the red card?’

“In the end, after the game, everyone is smarter than in the moment – myself as well. Of course, when I see it back now and say, ‘Do I need to go into the duel or not?’ No.

“But it is a moment, a second, where I have to make a decision and this time I made the wrong one and I feel sorry for the team, I feel sorry for the supporters, but thank God they did an amazing job after that.”

Xhaka has been dismissed five times since joining Arsenal in 2016, having also held a poor record at former club Borussia Monchengladbach, where he saw red on six occasions.

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