Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has developed a reputation during his time in the Premier League, with the Swiss international earning four red cards since moving to Arsenal in 2016.
Only two current Premier League players have been sent off more times in the competition, while Xhaka’s 45 yellow cards come at a rate of one every 3.8 games.
His most recent dismissal came back in August, during a 5-0 defeat to Manchester City, and drew criticism from some who felt the 29-year-old had not learned from past mistakes.
However, after watching other players escape sanction for similar challenges, Xhaka believes he can sometimes be treated differently to his peers, with his reputation preceding him when he steps onto the pitch.
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Xhaka was sent off twice in his first Arsenal season and once in the 2020-21 campaign before bringing the tally up to four against City.
The midfielder jumped into a challenge with Joao Cancelo, with the tackle considered dangerous despite him making contact with the ball.
Having looked at other incidents, though, he feels he would have been sent off for incidents which didn’t bring the same punishment for players from other teams.
“When you see some tackles and imagine if I was in this position? I would be sent off straight away,” Xhaka told The Athletic.
“This makes me do things in a different way sometimes because I know that my risk compared to the risk of other players is not the same,
“If I risk I know I am closer to a red card than any other player in the Premier League. Maybe I am wrong but that is what I feel.
“So sometimes in a game I stop myself from going for the risky ones because if I get a red card it all starts up again. I don’t want to give arguments for others to speak about me for stupid things. I try not to risk too much.”
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Xhaka also suggested the manner of his red card against Burnley last season, when he grabbed Ashley Westwood by the throat, has shaped how referees have viewed him since.
“When I once got a red card, the referee said to one of my team-mates, ‘You know how Granit is, he loses his head’,” he said.
“This feels wrong. Just because I lost my head against Burnley, for example, it is not like I lose my head every time. To put me in this box like this I believe is wrong.”
Xhaka is one of 22 players to be shown a red card in the Premier League this season, with no player being sent off twice in the first 19 gameweeks.
He will have a chance to make up for his own dismissal in Arsenal’s next game, with the Gunners welcoming Manchester City to the Emirates Stadium on New Year’s Day.