Soccer

Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka hits back at critics and questions unfair treatment

Granit Xhaka has said he is a target of unfair criticism at Arsenal and is treated differently to other players at the club by its fans.

The midfielder apologised earlier this month after his error led to a Burnley goal in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw at Turf Moor, and recently opened up on the abuse he and his family receive on social media.

He was also sent off in Arsenal’s 1-0 home defeat to Burnley in December, while his turbulent relationship with the club’s fans stretches back to when he reacted angrily to being jeered off the pitch in October 2019.

“In football you have to live with criticism, but there also have to be limits,” the Switzerland international told Blick.

“There are other players who get red cards, but they don’t get criticised as much as I do.

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“That doesn’t ruin me. I can handle it, and this time I came back even stronger, which many people did not expect.”

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Xhaka has been a regular starter under manager Mikel Arteta this season, with the club sitting ninth in the Premier League table with nine games to go this season.

“So far it has been an up and down season. We got off to a good start at the beginning, then didn’t score in a number of games, but now things are going much better again,” Xhaka said.

“In the league we are back within reach of the European places and now we need a run to make it in there. In the Europa League it would be absolutely important to get to the final.”

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