Arsenal suffered their fourth consecutive defeat at the Emirates Stadium as they were beaten 1-0 by Burnley, with Granit Xhaka’s red card summing up everything wrong with the club right now.
The Gunners came into the game having not scored from open play in the league since October 17th, and that streak continued as a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang own goal was enough to give the visitors all three points.
The game turned on it’s head when in the 57th minute Xhaka made a foul on the halfway line to prevent a counter attack. When McNeil fired back in fury, the two teams got between them. Xhaka took exception to Ashley Westwood in particular and thrusted his hand around Westwood’s neck which caused a fracas.
The referee initially awarded a yellow card for the Swiss international but upon a VAR review he rescinded the yellow card and awarded a straight red.
It’s the second straight red card in four league games for violent conduct that Arsenal have received, after Nicolas Pepe was sent off for a headbutt against Leeds United last month.
It’s led to criticism of manager Mikel Arteta and discussion about whether or not he can control his players. The question was raised even more later in the game as Mohammed Elneny clashed in the box with James Tarkowski while marking him at a corner, and was lucky not to see red himself when he seemed to raise his hands into the defender’s face.
On top of all the disciplinary issues, Arsenal are struggling badly on the pitch when it comes to scoring goals and defending – you know, the basics of football.
Arsenal have attempted 113 crosses in their last three Premier League games but have failed to find the back of the net in their last two, scoring just two goals in their last eight Premier League games combined.
Captain Aubameyang has now scored as many own goals in the league this season as he has goals from open play for Arsenal, while all attacking players are severely struggling to make any sort of impact.
Plenty of the players aren’t good enough for the level that Arsenal are aspiring to be at, but that isn’t an excuse for the setup and style that Arteta is implementing.
Arteta has tried switching systems, using different players, changing his approach and nothing has worked for him. With his next four Premier League games coming against Southampton, Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea, the former Gunners captain is in big trouble.
Arsenal fans are fed up, the players look fed up and the pundits are fed up. Arteta’s time might be up too.