Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Granit Xhaka will have to learn not to make rash challenges after getting sent off in the 3-2 win against Swansea.
Wenger insisted Xhaka is not a dirty player despite arriving in the Premier League with a poor disciplinary record. He earned five red cards with Borussia Moenchengladbach and was also sent off for Switzerland in September, and against the Swans he was shown a straight red card after he brought Modou Barrow down with a lunge from behind.
Wenger said he will speak to the holding midfielder, who was also at fault for Swansea’s first goal after giving the ball away to Gylfi Sigurdsson.
“Intelligence means you don’t make the same mistake twice, and I hope he learns from that,” Wenger said. “Before in Germany he had some [disciplinary problems], but I think he’s not a dirty player at all.
“Sometimes he makes some clumsy tackles because he’s not a natural defender, he is a guy who likes to go forward. But I will speak to him.”
The foul was not particularly violent and Arsenal had plenty of defenders behind, but referee Jon Moss opted for a straight red because of the cynical nature of the tackle. Wenger said he would not appeal the decision.
“It looked harsh to me, but it was a deliberate foul,” he added. “It looked like a dark yellow. But the referee went for a bright red.
“I think Barrow made a lot of it as well because he could go on. But the referee saw a bad tackle and you have to respect that. It’s a decision that is what it is, and he has to learn from it.”
The sending off made it a nervous ending for Arsenal after Mesut Ozil had seemingly secured the points by making it 3-1 with a thumping left-footed volley after being picked out by the far post by Alexis Sanchez. And Wenger said it was the type of strike that showed why Ozil should be scoring more goals.
“When you see him finishing today, you think he doesn’t take enough chances to shoot,” Wenger said. “When you see him in training, he scores basically when he wants. And you speak with the keepers, he is one of the most difficult players to predict where he will put the ball.
“I’m happy that he gets goals, I hope that gives him the taste to try more.”
Wenger also praised Theo Walcott after he scored the first two goals for the Gunners, but acknowledged that the winger should have put the game away towards the end when he hit the woodwork twice. Walcott is Arsenal’s leading scorer this season with seven goals in all competitions.
“He could have had a hat trick and even four,” Wenger said. “But he scored two goals. I think he has scored [seven] goals now, so that’s quite encouraging.”