Ian Wright has defended Granit Xhaka after the Arsenal man’s clash with Trent Alexander-Arnold in the Gunners’ 2-2 draw at Liverpool.
Arsenal were in complete control after goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus.
But the home crowd were riled by Xhaka squaring up to Alexander-Arnold, which sparked Liverpool into life when they had been very much second best.
Liverpool pulled a goal back shortly afterwards and Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher afterwards described Xhaka’s actions as “absolutely idiotic” as the incident seemed to alter the course of the game.
But former Arsenal striker Wright insisted that Xhaka was not to blame.
Speaking on the BBC’s Match of the Day 2 programme, Wright said: “It doesn’t take much to get that crowd going.
“Even if Granit Xhaka went in there and slapped someone it’s not going to get them going any more than they’re going to get going.
“The fact is that he’s been brilliant for us this season. I think the narrative is that people are trying to point at someone.
“That’s how Granit Xhaka plays. He’d probably play like that if he’s playing in his own garden.
“I wouldn’t put that (the result) on him. What I would put on us is the way we weren’t able to see that out and continue to play the way we played in the first half.”
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta also disagreed that the Xhaka incident was a turning point.
Arteta said: “I don’t know if that’s the case. We had a big chance after that and if we score and it’s 3-0 then maybe the crowd doesn’t get too excited.
“After that, they scored a goal and that changes the momentum. But we still have to come out in the second half and play more.”
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Gunners boss Arteta added: “The lesson is to stick to what we’ve done in the first half. That’s the way we have to continue to play and if we do that we will win a lot of games.”
The result left Premier League leaders Arsenal six rather than eight points clear of second-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand and currently have a superior goal difference.
Arteta admitted that his players saw the outcome as two points dropped rather than a point gained.
“When you concede at the end, always dropped two points,” he said.
“But being fair, Liverpool had four big chances they could have scored from and they missed a penalty.”