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Arsenal’s record-breaking season threatening to spiral out of control

F

or Arsenal, the records just keep on coming this season – but not in a good way.

Before this visit of Burnley, the Gunners had already made their worst start to a top-flight campaign since 1981 and they sunk even lower on Sunday.

This loss was a new low for Arsenal in a season that is threatening to spiral out of control.  

They lacked ideas going forward and, just when their attack was clicking at the start of the second-half, Granit Xhaka got himself sent off.

The midfielder can have no excuses after grabbing the neck of Ashley Westwood. Referee Graham Scott originally gave him a yellow card but, after watching it on the VAR monitor, he quickly converted it to a red.

It was the right decision and one that summed up a miserable night for Arsenal and Arteta.

Prior to that, after a sterile first half, they had begun to create chances and Nick Pope had to be at his best to keep it 0-0.

But just when you thought Arsenal were taking a step forward, they took two backwards. First Xhaka was sent off and then Aubameyang headed into his own net from a corner.

That was, as luck would have it, another unwanted record as it was the Gabon’s forward first own goal of his career. At the moment, it seemingly never rains but it always pours for Arsenal.

( AP )

Xhaka replicates Pepe by leaving Arsenal in lurch with red card

Last month it was Nicolas Pepe, this time it was Xhaka and now questions must surely be asked about the discipline of Arsenal’s players.

Pepe’s actions against Leeds were inexcusable, as he clashed heads with Ezgjan Alioski, and Xhaka’s were just the same.

As soon as the midfielder grabbed Westwood by the throat you knew his time was up, as in this VAR age incidents like that rarely get missed.

It was inexcusable from Xhaka, who last season was one of the great success stories under Arteta. He was a leader back then, but his moment of madness against Burnley was naive.

Before it, Arsenal had been in the ascendancy and looking like scoring. As it was, Burnley went on and grabbed the winner.

To make matters worse, Xhaka will now be banned for three League games. Not ideal when fellow midfielder Thomas Partey is already out injured.

( Getty Images )

Young guns must surely start against Southampton  

When the team was named, you wondered what the thoughts of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe were. The youngsters have shone in Europe this season – and did so again in Dundalk on Thursday – but they can’t get into the Premier League team.

That would be fair enough normally, but when the likes of Hector Bellerin and Willian are so out of form, you have to think the youngsters must wonder what they have to do to get a start.

They aren’t so much knocking on the door, but kicking it down with both feet. And what’s more, those on the other side are hardly doing enough to keep them out. Surely against Southampton on Wednesday they’ll get their chance?


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