Granit Xhaka

Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United: Wenger tops Mourinho

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  • Xhaka’s deflected strike hit 57 mins in
  • Welbeck headed in a second 3 minutes later
  • Arsenal stays alive for top 4

Thanks to goals from Granit Xhaka and Danny Welbeck, Arsene Wenger has beaten Jose Mourinho for the first time ever in Premier League play, a 2-0 result that keeps Arsenal’s faint hopes for a Champions League place alive and puts Manchester United in a weaker position in that same race.

United had the first big chance of the game as Wayne Rooney fed through Anthony Martial, but the Frenchman’s effort was stymied at close range by Petr Cech. The Gunners went down the other end minutes later, and Aaron Ramsey forced a save from David De Gea.

The proceedings went back and forth as neither side gained full control. Rooney had a header just wide off a corner, while Ramsey’s 30th minute pull-back was blocked with a pair of Gunners waiting. Ramsey and Ozil were both wide open on the end of an Alexis Sanchez far-post cross, but it was just out of reach with the goal gaping.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Rooney had the game’s biggest chance down the other end after picking out Rob Holding‘s back-pass, but he was smothered by Cech with no one else back.

With the score untouched at halftime, the game seemed to take a dip after the break as both teams looked to have hit the reset button. Then, out of nowhere, the Gunners led. Xhaka took aim from a huge distance out, and a massive stroke of fortune came his way as the shot struck the back of Ander Herrera and looped perfectly into the top corner.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

The game sprung to life after the goal, and the Gunners doubled their lead. A cross by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from the right touchline floated over the head of Chris Smalling and right to Welbeck who blasted his header off the underside of the crossbar and in.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Once down 2-0, Manchester United struggled to produce the chances they had in the first half. The Gunners were forced into a change as Xhaka was left with his seat on the turf, and he was replaced by Francis Coquelin on 75 minutes.

United looked for a way back in, but they had little to offer Cech’s goal as Arsenal did well to hamper them on the ball. Axel Tuanzebe delivered an impressive volley in stoppage time but it was too close to the Gunners’ shot-stopper.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

The win for Arsenal keeps their very faint top four hopes mathematically alive. On 63 points, they sit two back of Manchester United in fifth and six behind Manchester City for that final Champions League place. The Gunners have four matches remaining, which gives them a game in hand on the rest of the competition.

Manchester United falls back in the race, on 65 points, four back of Manchester City after the club’s first loss since October, ending a run of 25 matches. Jose Mourinho has publicly claimed they are prioritizing the Europa League, and rested a number of usual starters for this game as a result.

Report: Granit Xhaka accused of racial abuse

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Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has not had the best 48 hours of his life.

[ MORE: Coutinho key to Liverpool? ]

Xhaka, 24, was sent off for the ninth time in his career on Sunday for a two-footed lunge in Arsenal’s dramatic 2-1 win against Burnley.

It has new been reported by the Telegraph that Granit Xhaka has been accused of racially abusing a member of staff at Heathrow Airport on Monday, just over 24 hours after being sent off.

The Swiss midfielder, who joined Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach for $43.8 million in the summer, was reported by a third party for abusing the staff member as he dropped off a friend at Heathrow airport but they were then refused entry to security after turning up late for the flight.

Xhaka is said to have abused the staff member in German but he refutes the claim.

“Police were called at 19:29hrs on Monday, 23 January following an allegation that a member of staff had been racially abused at Heathrow Airport, Terminal Five. The allegation was made by a third party. Officers attended and spoke with a man in his 20s. He was not arrested. He voluntarily attended a west London police station where he was interviewed under caution. Enquires continue.”

Arsenal have no comment on what they call “a private matter” according to Sky Sports, but it has certainly not been a great 48 hours for the club who also had manager Arsene Wenger hit with a misconduct charge by the FA after being sent to the stands for his reaction at a late penalty kick was awarded to Burnley.

Wenger is also being investigated for an apparent push on fourth official Anthony Taylor as he watched from the tunnel area with many expecting Arsenal’s manager to receive a touchline ban.

Again, not a vintage 48 hours for Arsenal as they sit eight points clear of Chelsea and prepare for a pivotal week in their Premier League title hopes which culminates with a battle against their London rivals on Feb. 4 at Stamford Bridge.

Henry bashes Arsenal’s Xhaka after second red card of season

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It’s become a trend, albeit one that the Gunners certainly aren’t too fond of. Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka was sent off for the second time this season and while his side did manage to hold on to three points, the Swiss international has quickly made a name for himself in England for all the wrong reasons.

[ MORE: Arsene Wenger apologizes for sending off ]

Xhaka, 24, was dismissed in the second half of Sunday’s 2-1 win over Burnley after making a rash challenge on Clarets midfielder Steven Defour in the 65th minute.

[ MORE: Gunners up to second place after handling Burnley ]

Former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry sounded off on Xhaka’s latest dismissal following the match, calling out the midfielder for his lack of discipline.

“It’s not the first time. He did the same thing against Swansea,” Henry told Sky Sports. “This one I just don’t get it. Against Swansea it was a counter. Here, he gives the ball cheaply away.

“Why are you doing that 60 yards away from your goal, 25 minutes to go, you’re in control of the game? You misplace a pass. So what? Stay on your feet.

“As soon as you do that, the rules say it’s a red. Is it worse than [Marcos] Rojo who didn’t get a red? No. But the rule says both feet off the ground, it’s a red.”

Since the beginning of 2015, Xhaka has been shown red cards on six occasions dating back to the midfielder’s time with German club Borussia Monchengladbach, and including appearances for both club and country.

Xhaka’s suspension will keep him out of Arsenal’s next three matches, including home fixtures with Watford and Hull and a difficult road visit to Chelsea.

Xhaka’s latest red makes him the most sent-off player in Europe

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Granit Xhaka was a marked man before he came to England. With four dismissals over the last two club seasons, Arsenal fans were aware they were bringing in a talented passer and midfield destroyer, but also a man who had trouble staying on the pitch.

That has manifested itself in the Premier League, and has been maybe even exacerbated.

With his second straight red card of the season, Xhaka’s disciplinary issues are a hindrance to the Gunners and leaves Arsene Wenger with a big decision to make – to continue Xhaka’s selection in the matchday squad when he returns from suspension, or leave him on the sidelines as to not risk again falling down to 10 men.

Over the last 2-1/2 calendar years dating back to the start of the 2014/15 Bundesliga season when he was with Borussia Monchengladbach, Xhaka has been sent off six times in league play, once in the Europa League, and another for his international team during 2018 World Cup qualifying this past summer. The league record alone is more than any other player in the top 5 European leagues.

While obviously the sheer numbers are a major issue, the true problem is in the eye test. Xhaka isn’t learning from his mistakes. No, his dismissal against Burnley wasn’t the most malicious of challenges, but it was a textbook straight red card. The Swiss international passed the ball straight to Steven Defour, and long after the Burnley midfielder unloaded the ball to a teammate, Xhaka went lunging in with both feet showing studs, forcing referee Jon Moss to show him the showers after a quick conference with the assistant referee who was in perfect position to make the call.

If the 24-year-old wishes to find his way back to the field in Arsenal colors, he needs to start learning from his actions, or he will end up on the bench, either through suspension or selection. It nearly cost Arsenal a chance at second place against Burnley, with the Clarets energized by their man advantage. He has four domestic matches to think about what he’s done.

Giroud leads stunning 3-goal Arsenal comeback

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  • Daniels with goal, assist
  • Fraser scores, wins PK
  • Giroud leads comeback
  • Bellerin has a nightmare

Olivier Giroud scored and posted two assists as Arsenal came back from a 3-0 deficit to draw Bournemouth 3-3 at the Vitality Stadium on Tuesday.

Alexis Sanchez scored on Arsenal’s first shot on target, which came in the 70th minute. Lucas Perez found another within five minutes. Arsenal moves a point back of Man City, and two ahead of fifth-place Spurs.

Simon Francis saw red in the 83rd minute to heap doubt on the result. The draw has Bournemouth one point ahead of South Coast rivals Southampton, with 25 points in ninth.

Charlie Daniels, Ryan Fraser, and Callum Wilson scored for the Cherries.

Arsenal’s January run includes Bournemouth, Swansea, Watford, and Burnley, and hopeful Gunners won’t be buoyed by the slow start.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Daniels took down a diagonal cross with style, cutting back on Hector Bellerin and besting Petr Cech with a right-footed shot. Three minutes later, it was Ryan Fraser going down easy after a silly shove from Granit Xhaka. Wilson converted the PK.

Arsenal’s fight back was lively, and Aaron Ramsey won a corner with a turn-and-belt from 16 yards away. Arenal played in short, and Bournemouth cleared the danger.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Fraser made it 3-0 by pushing Bellerin aside in a race to a lost ball the left end line, and cutting in to fool Cech between the legs.

Sanchez dove to head a Giroud flick past Artur Boruc to give Arsenal a hint of life with that 70th minute marker.

Giroud was again in the role of playmaker, finding Perez for a 75th minute goal that made it 3-2.

Bournemouth didn’t wilt, as Ryan Gosling moved past Giroud to swoop a shot high and wide of the frame.

Simon Francis then cut down Ramsey within a minute, leaving his feet and picking up a yellow card.

It was the second minute of stoppage when Giroud barged down the door to a point with his finish.

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