Despite calling the penalty he conceded ‘disappointing’, Unai Emery says he was proud of Granit Xhaka’s performance in the 2-2 draw with Sp*rs.
The Swiss international made a stupid challenge in our box on Son, resulting in yet another spot kick which Harry Kane converted to make it 2-0 in the first half.
However, the Arsenal boss was more inclined to look at his captain’s overall performance than just that one incident.
“In 90 minutes, I’m very proud of his work,” said the Spaniard.
“Some mistakes we can have, I want to use them to progress, to learn and improve.
“There are a lot more positive things individually and collectively, and also with Xhaka for me.
“The penalty incident is a disappointing action but he played very well and worked very well.
“If we win that match, maybe we are speaking about that mistake less, but really there were two mistakes in the first half and they scored from both of them.
“In the second half, I think we spoke in the dressing room about that, and we learned and we did well in the second half.
“We continued to get the ball, we continued to take a lot of corners, taking a lot of shots, but we didn’t get the positions to score the goal. I think we deserved a third goal.”
Of course if we’d won the game we’d speak less about Xhaka’s stupidity, but we didn’t win and a big part of that was the fact he conceded the penalty in the first place.
It’s not long since the midfielder gave away a careless penalty at home against Brighton, and the two points we dropped that day helped condemn us to another season in the Europa League.
At this point, refusal to see that he’s a player who costs us points is holding us back, and while Xhaka does have positive aspects to his game, the fact the mistakes continue into his fourth season with the club suggests he’s always going to be this way.