Arsenal: Granit Xhaka has gone and improved yet again

Granit Xhaka continues to improve at Arsenal. Here is yet another way, numerically proven, that he has gotten better since his arrival years ago.

The criticism of Granit Xhaka is pretty wide-versed, but it all takes on the same general idea. He’s too slow, he makes poor decisions, he can’t defend, and he has too many disciplinary issues. Since joining Arsenal, he’s eradicated the majority of those poor decisions, proven that he can defend and now, he’s driven out the disciplinary issues as well.

It used to be that Xhaka was our de facto king of the yellow and red card. He would make rash challenges, then double up and do it again to get sent off. I’ll admit, it wasn’t a good look. But it’s gone now. Xhaka is now just average at card accumulation.

As it stands Xhaka has seven yellows and no reds in 1900 minutes with the Gunners. Sure, that leads the team in the number of yellows alone, but you have to be fair and do yellows per minute. That’s when you see the true story.

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At that rate, Granit Xhaka gets a yellow approximately every 272 minutes. That’s a slight improvement already on last year when he got a yellow every 250 minutes.

But what I’m here to talk about is how that compares to other players on the team who don’t get criticized for card accumulation.

Matteo Guendoui gets cards more often, albeit just slightly. One every 265 minutes. Calum Chambers gets them more often, one every 220 minutes. Bukayo Saka, boy wonder, is getting one every 294 minutes, which isn’t far from Xhaka’s mark.

Then there’s Alexandre Lacazette, who gets one every 263 minutes. Sokratis is every 282 minutes. Hector Bellerin isn’t far off at one every 312 minutes and Kieran Tierney at once every 299 minutes, same as Mustafi at once every 300 minutes.

My point is that Xhaka doesn’t get a lot of yellow cards. He gets just as many as everyone else. It’s just that people notice more when Xhaka gets them because they notice more when Xhaka does anything negative that every other player does too. It’s called a bias.

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Thankfully, our fans are getting better about this. Sure, they still gripe about every little thing Xhaka does. But more and more these days I see that they aren’t actively seeking out reasons to complain about him. Call it a small improvement, and I will, but at least that small improvement could catch up to Xhaka’s big improvements.