Dion Dublin has congratulated Mikel Arteta on BBC Radio 5 Live (13/01, 21:42) for the spirit Arsenal showed to draw at Liverpool following Granit Xhaka’s red card in the Carabao Cup.
The Gunners had to play 66-minutes with 10 men at Anfield after Michael Oliver gave the midfielder his marching orders. The referee felt the Swiss denied a clear goalscoring chance with his foul on Diogo Jota just outside the box.
Xhaka caught Jota with a high boot as he attempted to intercept Andrew Robertson’s pass over the disjointed Arsenal backline. It marked his third sending off since Arteta took over the north Londoners from Unai Emery in December 2019.
Xhaka has also now been sent off twice this term for straight red card offences after one at Manchester City in August. Martin Atkinson reached for his pocket for fouling Joao Cancelo at the Etihad Stadium. Ref Stuart Atwell also gave City a penalty against Xhaka this month.
Arteta responded to Xhaka’s sending off in the Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg at Liverpool by introducing Rob Holding. The Spaniard had already brought Calum Chambers on for right-back Cedric Soares. The Englishmen’s introductions also caused a change in shape.
Arsenal origination after Xhaka red card at Liverpool earns Arteta praise
The Gunners removed a striker in Eddie Nketiah to go 5-3-1 with Alexandre Lacazette asked to lead the line. Ben White also produced a Man of the Match display at centre-half next to Holding and Chambers. The £50m signing regularly kept Jurgen Klopp’s side from scoring.
But Arsenal’s overall organisation and professionalism after Xhaka’s red card at Liverpool in the Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg stalemate was what earned Arteta Dublin’s praise.
“This, for me, is what being a professional is all about,” Dublin said. “Down to 10 men, you need blood, sweat and tears. This is about doing it for your club, your teammates and the manager. Arsenal deserve this.
“Brilliant from Arsenal. The organisation got them through it. Liverpool didn’t have that spark in the final-third. It was an Arsenal performance I didn’t think I would see – very professional. Well done Mikel Arteta.”
Arsenal will now host Liverpool in their Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg next Thursday level-pegging, despite Xhaka’s red card at Anfield. But Arteta will want the same level of organisation and professionalism to get a result at the Emirates Stadium.