Granit Xhaka can count himself lucky he was not shown a straight red card in Arsenal’s clash with Leeds United on Saturday evening.
The Switzerland midfielder, who returned to the team earlier in the month following a lengthy injury layoff, has a history in showing discipline issues while on the pitch.
It very easily could have been five against Leeds. Arsenal were in cruise control following a dominant first-half display, with the visitors 3-0 up.
However, this did not stop Xhaka go into a challenge with Raphinha, who came out of the tackle in much worse condition.
Xhaka ended up planting his foot on the Brazilian’s leg, which left him in some pain for a couple of minutes before he returned to his feet. Raphinha was okay to play on, though. After a wait to see what the Video Assistant Referee was going to do, Xhaka was allowed to play on.
Arsenal fans, when taking to Twitter following the incident, have criticised Xhaka for his “stupid” moment.
The Gunners were comfortable winners against a very disjointed Leeds side at Elland Road, thanks to a fine first-half performance from Mikel Arteta‘s men, who went into the break with a three-goal advantage.
Gabriel Martinelli opened the scoring early on after some good work from Alexandre Lacazette. Martinelli was on hand to double the Gunners’ advantage not too long after, before Bukayo Saka made it 3-0 just before the half-time whistle.
Raphinha pulled one back for Leeds with around 15 minutes to go after Ben White gave away a penalty, but it proved to be a consolation for the Whites as Emile Smith Rowe came off the bench to add a fourth.
Xhaka did later find his way into the book – but this was for wasting time over a free-kick with a little over five minutes of normal time remaining.
The three points for Arsenal sees them extend their advantage to West Ham United to four points, with the Hammers seeing their clash with Norwich City being postponed due to an outbreak of Covid-19 in the Canaries’ camp.