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Football Reporting


‘We threw the game away’ – Arsenal’s ‘complete dominance’ wiped by Xhaka’s red card, says Arteta

The Gunners boss could not believe his team lost as a moment of ill-discipline allowed the visitors an opportunity to pounce

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has criticised former captain Granit Xhaka for getting sent off as the Gunners crashed to a 1-0 defeat against Burnley at the Emirates on Sunday.

The home side had all the possession and chances until Xhaka was shown a red for grabbing the neck of Ashley Westwood in the second half, with the one-man advantage allowing the Clarets to gain impetus in the contest.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored at the wrong end shortly after to secure victory for Burnley, with the club captain now not having scored from open play for his own since the opening day of the Premier League season in September.

Arteta felt Arsenal’s endeavour was at an impressive level but he lamented the red card and the team’s profligacy in front of goal.

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“You saw the performance of the boys, how much they wanted it, the chances we created and then we threw the game away with the red card,” Arteta said to Sky Sports.

“We had total control for 60-70 minutes and should have won it earlier.”

He added to Match of the Day: “[It was] complete dominance from the start to the moment that Granit Xhaka was sent off.

“[We] created all the chances, pressing, the attitude of the players was amazing the way we played in moments it was really good.They are really willing and probably too willing in key moments we over stepped the line and got a man sent off.

“By too willing I mean that they are incredibly committed to what they are trying to do, they are trying their best. The energy that they play with and we took it into the wrong place because in that moment they were left exposed.”

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Arsenal’s defeat saw the club lose four matches at home in the league for the first time since 1960 and Burnley win at the Gunners home venue for the first time in the Premier League era.

When asked about what he will say to Xhaka following the Swiss midfielder’s red card, Arteta insisted the club’s ex-captain would assume responsibility and suggested the incident was a result of over-exuberance.

“Same words [as when Pepe was sent off before]. In these conditions even worse,” Arteta said to Sky Sports.  

“I think it is related into how much will and energy they put into the games but it is not an excuse. I am sure he will [say it is his fault].”

Arsenal are now languishing in 15th position on the Premier League, a whopping 12 points behind leaders and bitter rivals Tottenham after 12 matches.

Their next match is against Southampton at the Emirates on Wednesday, with Arteta begging his team to get on the scoresheet, having scored only two goals in their last eight league games.

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“You go on Wednesday against Southampton at home and try to win the game’” Arteta said. “We have to score a goal, we have to put the ball in the net.

“We were on top from the beginning to the moment of the sending off. We are not winning football matches and I am here to provide wins. Everyday work on it.”

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