Rio Ferdinand has insisted that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta cannot rely on Granit Xhaka and Gabriel Magalhaes because of discipline issues.
The Gunners have a poor discipline record under Arteta following his arrival in the dugout in December 2019. In fact, they have racked up 15 sending-offs under the Spaniard, Gabriel Martinelli’s against Wolves being the latest.
But Switzerland midfielder Xhaka has seen five red cards in his time at Arsenal, including four since Arteta arrived.
What’s more, centre-back Gabriel has been sent off twice. Following two quickfire yellow cards in a 1-1 draw with Southampton last season, the Brazilian saw red against Manchester City on New Years’ Day this term.
Xhaka recently hit back at his critics, insisting that he will never change the way he plays.
According to Rio Ferdinand, players who cannot control their discipline do not belong at Arsenal under Arteta.
Asked on his Vibe with Five podcast whether Xhaka and Gabriel’s red card habits are down to poor discipline or being rash: “Both. Lack of discipline.
“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?’.
Arsenal looking at Rafael Leao from AC Milan for £50m
Arsenal are looking at Rafael Leao from AC Milan for £50m
“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.”
As well as Xhaka, Gabriel and Martinelli, Thomas Partey has also seen red recently.
The Ghana international midfielder received a sending off in the second leg of Arsenal’s Carabao Cup semi-final defeat to Liverpool in January.
In fact, that red card came a week after Xhaka received his marching orders for a tackle on Diogo Jota in the first leg.
Arsenal chasing top-four hunt
The red cards for Xhaka and Partey in the League Cup severely hampered Arsenal’s chances of reaching the final.
In the first leg, the Gunners went into damage limitation mode to get out of Anfield with the tie intact.
Meanwhile, Partey’s sending off put the tie to bed at the Emirates.
Arsenal are now chasing a top-four finish in the Premier League after a tough start to the season.
And Arteta will be hoping his players can show more discipline in the hope of red cards not costing them more results.