Xhaka, Aubameyang, Luiz: Arsenal's Premier League red cards under Mikel Arteta ranked


Arsenal plunged to the lowest of lows under Mikel Arteta on Sunday night.

The dark clouds have been gathering over Emirates Stadium for some time now, but seldom have we seen the Gunners capitulate in quite the dramatic fashion as they did against Burnley.

Even during the late struggles under Arsene Wenger and doomed tenure of Unai Emery, it's hard to recall a more crushing culmination of dreadful form from Arsenal in the Premier League era.

Arsenal 0-1 Burnley

Arteta's men entered the game having suffered defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa, Leicester City and Manchester City in their last seven league games.

But hosting Burnley, who had won just a single Premier League game coming into the fixture, looked to be the perfect opportunity for Arsenal to find their feet again with fans returning to the stadium.

However, that couldn't have been further from the case as Arsenal slumped to their first-ever Premier League defeat to the Clarets courtesy of a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang own goal.


Xhaka's red card

Naturally, that fact alone has sparked countless jokes on social media, but the Arsenal player deserving of far more criticism is Granit Xhaka who was sent off early in the second-half.

The notoriously fiery Swiss midfielder was given his marching orders after VAR upgraded his yellow card to a red after grabbing Ashley Westwood by the neck in a fracas sparked by his own foul.

"We threw it away, we were in control of the game," Arteta fumed to the BBC. "When you give the red card away the game changes. I don't know what it is we have to do to score a goal."


Arsenal's poor disciplinary record

Lack of discipline has become a crippling problem for Arsenal during the Arteta era, picking up no less than six Premier League red cards, which is double the nearest club in the same timeframe.

Xhaka, Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Eddie Nketiah and David Luiz (x2) have all been dismissed, while the next-most ill-disciplined side, Brighton & Hove Albion, have picked up three.

There's no denying that Arsenal have lost their heads far too often under Arteta's command and we thought it was a trend worth looking into, so we unearthed all six red card incidents.


Ranking Arsenal red cards

In fact, we went one step further, deciding to rank each dismissal from the least stupid to the most stupid. Check out the incidents down below to see where Xhaka's moment of madness falls:

6. Eddie Nketiah vs Leicester City (07/07/2020)

Comfortably the most innocent red card on the list. The decision to send Nketiah off was probably fair because the lunge was certainly dangerous, but I don't think he meant any malice at all.


5. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang vs Crystal Palace (11/01/2020)

It's one of those fouls that just makes you fold inwards when you see the slow-motion replay. The Arsenal skipper was always asking for trouble planting his studs on Max Meyer like that.


4. David Luiz vs Chelsea (21/01/2020)

Ah, we're truly getting into calamitous territory now. Luiz essentially signed his own death warrant when he came within a few inches of Tammy Abraham after he rounded Bern Leno in the box.


3. David Luiz vs Manchester City (17/06/2020)

Lord above. What makes this red card so catastrophic isn't necessarily the foul itself, albeit playing a dangerous game, but the fact Luiz dropped a disasterclass for the ages despite being a sub.


2. Nicolas Pepe vs Leeds United (22/11/2020)

Fair play for fronting up and apologising, Nicolas, but we still can't get our head around - no pun intended - why you decided to exact your Zinedine Zidane impression on Ezgjan Alioski here.


1. Granit Xhaka vs Burnley (13/12/2020)

What makes this red card the most painful of the bunch is how unsurprising it is.

From the moment Xhaka fumed with anger after committing the foul, you just knew something explosive - a la the Palace game last season - was going to happen and like clockwork, it did.

It's hard to sympathise with Xhaka when you consider the lessons of the Pepe incident and the time that elapsed between the inciting incident and the neck-grab makes it all the more embarrassing.


Arsenal woes

The bottom three? Ok, they could probably happen to most teams and besides, plenty of clubs have racked up a treble of dismissals in the last year, but it's the podium that's truly unforgivable.

Luiz's performance at the Etihad Stadium will forever go down as one of the worst in Premier League history, picking up a red card after making a terrible error and conceding a penalty.

And then there's the utter lunacy of the two most recent red cards, which have truly underpinned the wider problems at Arsenal and suggested that all isn't well behind the scenes at the Emirates.


Don't get me the wrong, the issues at Arsenal are manifold, but the Gunners can hardly expect to kick on when their players are being dismissed for headbutts and grabbing players by the neck.

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