Jamie Carragher has torn into Granit Xhaka for the ‘absolutely ridiculous’ challenge that led to his red card in Arsenal’s Carabao Cup clash at Liverpool.
Xhaka was sent off just 23 minutes into the semi-final tie at Anfield after clattering into Diogo Jota, handing Mikel Arteta’s side with a mountain to climb.
To little surprise, referee Michael Oliver was quick to hand the midfielder his marching orders and at half-time, pundit Carragher criticised his clumsiness.
Granit Xhaka was sent off for a clumsy tackle in Arsenal’s Carabao Cup clash against Liverpool
After a long ball forward, Xhaka caught Diogo Jota and, having been the last man, was sent off
He said: ‘Jota just thinks, “I’ve got to get my chest on it.”
‘And then Xhaka does what Xhaka does, he makes an absolutely ridiculous challenge when Jota has got so much to do.’
After looking at the incident in greater detail, Carragher added: ‘You asked me if it’s a red card. There’s no doubt it’s a red card.
During the break, Jamie Carragher hit out at the recklessness from Arsenal’s senior midfielder
Referee Michael Oliver was quick to brandish his red card after Xhaka brought down Jota
‘Initially we weren’t sure, did he know he was there? But the way he’s taken him out, the force he’s taken him out, an absolutely ridiculous challenge.’
Andy Robertson floated an inch-perfect switch of play over the visitors’ defence for Jota after a rapid counter-attack, a pass which caught out Xhaka.
With both players then racing to meet the ball as it dropped out of the air, Xhaka caught his opponent square in the chest, leaving him prostrate on the ground.
Oliver, the man in the middle, was left with little choice after the denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity, and Arsenal were left with 10 men for the rest of the game.
Xhaka was helped to his feet by the official, before being sent for an early bath in the first half
It was the former club captain’s second sending-off this season, following his red card picked up against Manchester City last August.
Ahead of the match, Paul Merson took aim at the rashness of Xhaka, but highlighted the fact that he has regularly been picked by all of Arsenal’s recent managers.
‘He’s one of those players where I watch him and he’s plays in the games and I’m like, “What do you do?”‘ Merson said.
Paul Merson said he struggled to see what Xhaka brings to the team despite his regular starts
‘But when he doesn’t play, he’s missed. It’s a strange one.
He added: ‘He always plays. He’ll run through brick walls for you. Yeah, he’ll make his mistakes, get his sending offs and pick up silly yellow cards, but he always plays.
‘They’re a better team with him in it. I don’t want to underestimate him. That’s a compliment.’