Arsenal have seen more players sent off than they have scored goals since New Year’s Day, which has hampered Mikel Arteta’s efforts to guide them to a top four finish
Rio Ferdinand has blasted Arsenal stars Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Magalhaes as being “worthless” due to their lack of discipline.
The Gunners have been hit by a rash of red cards, with Mikel Arteta seeing more players sent off than his side have scored since New Year’s Day.
That lack of discipline has severely hampered Arteta this season, with defeats to Liverpool and Manchester City both stemming from Arsenal going a man down.
It is a problem that Arteta himself has admitted he has no answer for, with Xhaka and Gabriel two of the worst culprits for discipline issues in his squad.
Xhaka has received four red cards in the Premier League since arriving at the Emirates Stadium after Euro 2016, while Gabriel has received two since joining the Gunners in 2020.
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Both have recently drawn the ire of referees, with Gabriel being sent off in the defeat to City on New Years’ Day and Xhaka receiving his marching orders for a ridiculous tackle in the Carabao Cup clash with Liverpool.
The pair have now been slammed by Ferdinand, who was only sent off once in his entire Premier League career.
The Manchester United legend went as far as to brand the duo as “worthless” if they cannot stamp out their issues with discipline.
“Both. Lack of discipline,” Ferdinand told the Vibe with FIVE podcast when asked if their tendency to receive cards was down to a lack of discipline or being rash.
“You’ve got to have sometimes a trigger in your mind that when you’re going in for a tackle ‘is this the right time or not?’.
“That separates the top players a lot of the time from the okay, good players. If you can’t rely on people, they’re worthless. Don’t have them.”
Ferdinand also insisted that neither Xhaka nor Gabriel could be trusted to perform by Arteta due to their discipline issues.
“In pressure situations especially, throughout a season really, you need to be able to go on that pitch and think ‘I can rely on him, he’s one I can put in, I know what I’m getting, he’s cool’,” he added.
“A penalty against your team… what do you think you’re achieving by doing that?
“This is where the stupidity enhances itself. He’s not going in on goal, he’s not a threat, he’s in the middle of the pitch and straightaway after that incident you commit a silly foul like that.
“You’re in disbelief, I don’t understand it.”
Arsenal’s problems with keeping all 11 men on the pitch reared its ugly ahead again in the win over Wolves, when Gabriel Martinelli received his marching orders for two bookings in five seconds.
And Arteta admitted in the aftermath of that game that he has run out of possible solutions.
“I’ve run out of ideas I think (to stop the red cards),” he told BT Sport.
“We put ourselves in trouble with the red card and we had to dig in. We need to play with 11 players in the last 16 games and that is key. To win games with 10 men is very unlikely.”