Wenger: No Xhaka red card appeal


Arsene Wenger says Arsenal will not appeal Granit Xhaka’s red card after the Swiss midfielder was harshly dismissed by referee Jon Moss in the 3-2 win over Swansea on Saturday.

The summer signing was given his marching orders on 70 minutes for a petulant trip on Modou Barrow; a decision that was probably over the top given it happened on the halfway line.

Speaking after the game about the episode, Wenger made clear that, despite believing Xhaka was hard done by, he wouldn’t try and have the red rescinded.

“It looked harsh to me,” said the boss.  “But it was a deliberate foul. It looked a dark yellow – and the referee went for a bright red.

“No [we won’t be appealing],” he added.

Annoyingly, Xhaka now faces a three match ban, as well as further scrutiny of the bad boy reputation he earned during his time in the Bundesliga. Wenger says he’ll have a chat with the player and hope he’ll learn from it.

“Before, in Germany, he had some [red cards] but I don’t think he’s a dirty player at all. Sometimes there have been some clumsy tackles, because he’s not a natural defender, he’s a guy who likes to play forward.

“I will speak to him. I think Barrow made a lot of it as well, because he could go on. But the referee saw a bad tackle and you have to respect that. It is what it is, and he has to learn from it.”


  1. Was never a red, even Wenger knows that.

    However, I get the feeling he’s avoiding rocking the boat with the FA and referee association. Only need to look at Jose to see that if you start making a deal out of it, you could make your ‘luck’ worse.

    Great result considering the context of the game. Would have drew that previously but showed grit today. COYG!

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    • When Moss has finished eating all the pies he will be quite embarrassed about his performance today. Sunday league referee.

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    • According to the laws, a red card should be given for “serious foul play.” It cannot be given because a foul is really, really cynical. And no other possible red card offense applies to Xhaka’s tackle.

      I think it is clear that Xhaka’s tackle did not meet the following definition because there was no “excessive force or brutality” nor did it endanger an opponent’s safety, at least any more than many tackles. But it is probably also likely (not certain, but likely) that a referee’s judgment on whether or not it did meet the definition will (and probably should) be sustained:

      Serious foul play
      A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent or uses
      excessive force or brutality must be sanctioned as serious foul play.

      Any player who lunges at an opponent in challenging for the ball from the
      front, from the side or from behind using one or both legs, with excessive force
      or endangers the safety of an opponent is guilty of serious foul play.

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      • That isn’t actually the entire truth. The Laws are open to interpretation in this instance.

        “Cautions for unsporting behaviour
        There are different circumstances when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour including if a player:
        […] commits a foul or handles the ball to interfere with or stop a promising attack”

        “Sending off offenses
        A player, substitute or substituted player who commits any of the following offenses is sent off:
        […] denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the opponent’s goal by an offense punishable by a free kick (unless as outlined below)
        [The below section outlines how to deal with offenses in the penalty area, irrelevant in this situation]
        […]The following must be considered:
        * distance between the offense and the goal
        * general direction of play
        * likelihood of keeping or gaining control of the ball
        * location and number of defenders”

        So, although the foul was committed more than half the distance away from the goal, the referee decided that it was a clear goalscoring opportunity given that:

        * the general direction of play was definitely towards the goal
        * there was a high likelihood of Barrow retaining possession as he’d clearly skinned Xhaka
        * there were two defending players more or less level with Barrow, and three attackers in close vacinity to those defenders.

        Therefore, in the referee’s mind, a clear goalscoring opportunity had been prevented and the correct course of action was to issue a red card.

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      • Good point. Elneny could use the minutes. Santi may need a break, though, and Elneny/Coquelin may lack a little in the offensive creativity department. But we’ll be OK. I like the way the manage and team reacted. There was enough attacking ambition to keep Swansea from a full-on commitment to attack, and no feeling sorry for themselves. Give the Swans credit for a positive approach to the game that almost worked for them. We were just too good in the end!

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    • I’m going to take a leap here and say Wenger might be using this as a teaching moment for Xhaka. He’s put in a few ‘strategic’ tackles (which for the record I think we’ve been short of in recent years) in his short time here, in some cases when he might not have needed to.

      As long as Coquelin is healthy and it doesn’t hurt our chances, it might be crafty to head off a building reputation before it gets too far. By my clearly and unapologetically biased view we’re already judged more harshly by and large, and it’d be better he doesn’t get it too far into his head that ‘this is the Prem, get stuck in’.

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    • I think it has to be Elneny, but the boss loves the Coq/Cazorla combo. Have to be careful not to burn them out.

      If that was a red card, then we should be seeing about 1000 red cards this year. Barrow looked like a bush-league player staying down on that one. 3 games for that is really harsh especially when you think of how many elbows Fellani gets away with and all the crap Costa gets away with each week.

      To my friends that have followed the league longer than me, would we even have a chance if we appeal it?

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    • There’s nothing to appeal. Ref saw it clearly and made the decision. There’s no chance the FA would dispute the refs decision, would be too undermining. That’s why there’s no appeal.

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  2. that was never a red…in their own half, near the half-way line and Barrow was never on a scoring cert…surprised we’re not appealing, unless the Boss want to use the red as a lesson for Xhaka…he messed around near our box and lost the ball to allow them back into the game and then gets redded…he needs to steady his nerves a bit more and cut out the unnecessary stuff…

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  3. Never a red, it’s just a cynical foul on someone who’s running away from you. You never see a red for those. The dude just made a huge deal out of it and John Moss is so fat he can’t keep up with the play so he never has any idea.

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  4. Think it’s one of those that’s definitely a harsh red but you’re not going to get overturned – they’ll always err with the side of the referee unless it’s a blatantly awful decision. By that I mean like no contact or the wrong player – this was harsh but not quite in that category. It made me think of playing FIFA in years gone by when a slide tackle from behind was always a red, whether or not contact was made!

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  5. Now Wenger not backing Xhaka in this may lead others not making cynical fouls and taking one for the team. In previous games we have the tendency of escorting opposing players all the way to our D and making fouls there. What Xhaka did was a breath of fresh air. It was never a red and the boss should look at the replay then see for himself.

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  6. An unpopular opinion most likely, but that was a complete brain fart. Thats not taking one for the team, getting sent off from the sideline could have cost the team. He was a million miles from the ball, and intentionally took out a player. You can argue all you like if its worth a dark yellow, dark orange or cherry red, but personally I wasnt surprised about the colour the ref pulled out of his pocket. He gave the ref every chance to send him off.

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    • If he hadnt got sent off(which he shouldn’t have) we would all be saying its a good yellow card to pick up. But since the ref is a dickhead it seems like a worse decision than it is. In that situation he had to make the tackle. Hindsight is fantastic however.

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    • I agree completely. Had someone from another time done that to one of our players we would’ve been livid. No excuse for playing that dirty and it almost cost us the game

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      • No – if someone else had done that to us, the press would’ve been going on ad infinitum how it wasn’t a red card, and how we were lucky to get a decision, in a game we would’ve otherwise lost, then everyone and his dog with anything vaguely related to the opposing team would be interviewed as to why it wasn’t a red card, then retired referees would be brought out to explain why it wasn’t a red card… you know how it goes. Yes, the challenge definitely wasn’t necessary, but neither was the red card. It appear the referee’s were hell bound on making the games a bit more ‘exciting’ with another dodgy red card in the West Ham game.

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    • Well, the Dutch centerhalf in Swansea punched Walcott in the face in a smiliar situation and got nothing for it.

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      • I think Moss didn’t see the whole thing, because that was outrageous. The defender took a lok at Walcott flying by and deliberately stuck his hand in Theo’s face, fingers outstretched, knowing he’d probably get him in an eye if Theo didn’t pull up or flinch. Clear foul in a very dangerous spot.

        But Wenger was smart not to appeal. We’d probably lose it, and he’s storing up some good will for when we might really need it. Xhaka can be spared for the next three FA clashes. Those two egregious errors (getting skinned by Barrow and gifting the ball to Sigurdson), and the harsh red, made this a nightmare game for him; but he is integrating well and pinging passes around like a Gunner should. He’ll be a better player for this experience.

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    • THIS. Would quite like to see the ref watch replays of each and then have to explain the decision process behind both calls to the players. Would be quite hilarious to see him try to make those decisions look even a little bit consistent. Muppet.

      For those that think this was indeed a clear cut red. I’ll just assume u might be a sp*rs fan with a curious sense of humour. Clearly.

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    • So if you jump up to block a shot that should also be a red because both of your feet are off the ground?

      I don’t see the point in not appealing. It won’t be deemed frivolous because it’s clearly not an attempt to delay the ban, so the worst that could happen is nothing will change.

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      • I agree, I would appeal because it surely isn’t frivolous however blocking a shot and deliberately kicking someone aren’t the same thing surely. I just don’t see it as this massive injustice is all, if this is the worst decision we get this year then I will be very happy.

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    • Actually I thought I’m the only one thinking straight away “ok it’s a red now close the doors and windows and keep the result” nothing like Coquelin card against Chelsea that really wasn’t ok

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    • Try to jog without both feet leaving the ground. He clipped his lower shin/ankle, and not hard.

      Cynical, yes, but that’s the criteria for the difference between a typical foul free kick and a yellow, not for a red decision. Wenger’s being VERY generous to the ref here.

      It’s a shit decision. Never a red.

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      • Your first sentence was the point I was trying to make about having two feet off the floor.

        I’m pretty sure that most one-footed tackles involve having both feet off the floor. The ‘having two feet off the floor’ is a pundit cliche – when they really mean that a player has launched into a tackle in the direction they are running.

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  7. Was never a red unless the rules of football have changed. Wenger however may as well save his battles. Let Elneny have a pop…stoke up competition and lets keep going 🙂 Go the fucking Arsenal!!!

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  8. If that’s a red then there are about half a dozen reds each week that need to be given that aren’t. It was a cynical trip from behind. A yellow. Not even a dark yellow.

    I think the only reason Wenger isn’t appealing is due to Coq being back and Elneny chomping at the bit. This plays perfectly into the method of easing him into the team slowly that he was using before Coq’s injury.

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  9. Would it extend the ban if an unsuccessful appeal was made? Have to think that’s the only reason for not appealing.

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    • It’s a risk. Not all failed appeals are automatic extensions of the ban, only appeals that are deemed “frivolous”. However, given the general level of muppetry at the FA, those clowns would not only extend the ban to the middle of next season, they’d also ban four random other players for a couple of months each.

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  10. Why not? If its in our favour, win-win. If it gets overruled, alright no problem. We got plenty of options. So why not appeal? Bad reputation? What is it?

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  11. I literally clapped when he did that. I’m 100% pro cynical fouling. He just wasn’t “cute” enough about it. Hopefully he learns from this and fouls more professionally. And teaches Santi.

    On the other hand, Iwobi is 😍 but he needs to cover Monreal more.

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  12. The color of the card was a toss-up, one of those that falls on who the ref is, and if hes had a good morning leading up to the match, or not. As to the appeal? Not issuing one, to me, suits Wenger perfectly. There’s depth in the midfield, a run of win-able games, and the opportunity to teach a “new-to-the-league” player a valuable lesson. Not just concerning the reckless tackle, but with the sloppy giveaway earlier. Appealing a clear foul only creates an issue where there should be none. Harsh? Yes. Unheard of? No. Now we simply flash our coq next week, take another three.

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  13. It was a red card, if he had drag him to the ground, pull his shirt or trip him it would have been yellow, it was a tackle from behind (a kick), yes probably the Swansea team played it up, but i felt Barrows was really hurt, otherwise there would have been no reason to take off their most dangerous player when we are down to 10 men about 7 minutes after.

    So why appeal when we would lose.

    The thing of interest to me was Xhaka pinging balls over the top when Swansea decided to move the line a little forward, we really have some dangerous weapons at our disposal for a team not fully yet in top gear

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  14. Was I the only person who’s first reaction to the Xhaka tackle was “Lord, let this not be a Red Card” Because even though Barrow had no goal scoring opportunity – the tackle was extremely cynical and Xhaka was miles away from the ball. I think football rules permit referees to give a Red Card for such tackles – even if the tackle does not deny a goal scoring chance.

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  15. Just can’t help but wonder why elneny isn’t getting a run out when he was our best player at the end of last season.

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  16. My conclusion is this – It should have been a yellow, but it was a shite tackle by Xhaka and Jon Moss is a prize twat

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  17. It shouldn’t have been a red card but we wouldn’t win the appeal so. O point in appealing. The appeals jury would look at it and say sliding in from behind caught him just below the knee, appeal denied.

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  18. Funny really. Every other team has tripped us for years on the break in the middle of the park, farcelona being the best at it, and its labelled as clever play. we go and do o e and its a straight red for being cynical.

    Always seems we have to play by a different set of rules.

    Ref needs to be demoted for that. ‘Cynical foul’ my arse, I’ve never heard of anyone getting a straight red for that in all my life.

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  19. This better be a lesson from Wenger not to pull a noob move on any oppositions who dazzled past him. Quick Premiere League run through right there.

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  20. I think Wenger’s not appealing because he wants Xhaka to learn from his mistakes. His positioning was quite bad at times today, rescinding his card will only enable him to keep doing it.

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  21. I suppose by the letter of the law, Xhaka’s tackle was a red card and so appealing it is probably pointless. On the other hand, that tackle happens in just about every game from Sunday league on up. By the letter of the law, there ought to be dozens of red cards every season for that foul. The problem is not the foul itself, it’s the seemingly random and arbitrary enforcement which is ridiculous.

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