January 16, 2021

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Granit Xhaka explains lack of apology for Burnley red card and slams his critics

3 min read

Granit Xhaka answered his critics by scoring in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Chelsea (Picture: Getty)

Granit Xhaka appeared to reference his refusal to apologise for his sending off against Burnley with a pointed message to his critics on social media following last night’s win over Chelsea.

The Switzerland international’s roller-coaster 12 months hit a new low during the recent defeat against the Clarets when, not for the first time in his Arsenal career, a rush of blood to the head resulted in a red card.

Both Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Magalhaes made public apologies after they were given their marching orders against Leeds United and Southampton, respectively.

Xhaka, however, kept his counsel during this three-match suspension and returned to the starting line-up at the Emirates last night, where he gave an assured performance at the heart of Arsenal’s midfield and even got on the scoresheet with a stunning 25-yard free-kick.

Referencing his decision to keep quiet in recent weeks, Xhaka wrote on Instagram: ‘Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Proud of our team tonight.’

The likes of Ian Wright and Paul Merson had been particularly critical of Xhaka following his dismissal against Burnley and the former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder admitted he wasn’t surprised to hear the usual suspects writing him off.

Mikel Arteta insists he still maintains total faith in Granit Xhaka (Picture: Getty)

‘It feels very good to get three points back, we missed this the last few weeks,’ he said after the game. ‘We knew it would be very difficult today but I think we worked together at a team and at the moment we can only take points like this.

‘We did the plan that to coach gave us, to press, to focus for 95 minutes and we scored at the right time and the 3-0 helps a lot.

‘There was a lot of speaking after the red card, a lot of people start to speak again and again but I think I will always show my character. I was very disappointed about the red card, I knew what I did, it was wrong from my side but I am more than happy I helped the team today and I am back.’

Eyebrows were raised, meanwhile, when Arteta opted to reinstate Xhaka at the earliest opportunity but the Arsenal manager insists his divisive midfielder retains his full backing.

‘Since I’ve been here he has always shown that,’ said Arteta. ‘That’s why I have been really supportive of him.

‘He makes mistakes, like we all do, but his commitment and character and how much he wants to fight for this club and this team is unquestionable, and I think today he showed that again.’

MORE : Mikel Arteta faces Arsenal dressing room split over Mesut Ozil recall decision

MORE : Frank Lampard vows to start Callum Hudson-Odoi against Aston Villa after Chelsea’s defeat to Arsenal

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