Granit Xhaka had to eat his words as he was sent off in Arsenal’s defeat to Burnley – with his programme notes coming back to haunt him.
The Gunners’ season hit a new low as they were beaten 1-0 by the Clarets, piling the pressure on boss Mikel Arteta after just one win in eight Premier League games.
Xhaka cost his side dear as he was sent off for a moment of madness on the hour mark, with a VAR check confirming he grabbed Burnley’s Ashley Westwood around the throat.
Left with 10 men, Arsenal then succumbed to a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang own goal as they lost a fourth successive home league game for the first time since 1959.
After the defeat, Gunners boss Arteta said Xhaka’s sending-off was “unacceptable” – branding it “even worse” than Nicolas Pepe’s in the 0-0 draw at Leeds last month.
And the midfielder’s dismissal made a mockery of his programme notes for the game, in which he detailed how “organisation, discipline and respect for other people are very important”.
“I’m a guy who is very organised,” wrote Xhaka in the official matchday programme.
“This is maybe my best thing – for me, organisation, discipline and respect for other people are very, very important. I grew up like this and I will pass it on to my little one.”
Xhaka went on to write about how his organisational skills helped him to always remember birthdays – but he was the one receiving a card on Sunday.
Arsenal’s defeat left them 15th in the Premier League table, with manager Arteta now under huge pressure less than a year after taking over from Unai Emery.
Asked after the game about Xhaka’s sending-off, Arteta told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We know that these things are unacceptable and the moment that we are in now it’s even more so.
“Complete dominance from the start to the moment that Granit Xhaka was sent off.
“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.
The Gunners host Southampton next on Wednesday in a game which is surely now a must-win for Arteta.