Ian Wright believes Granit Xhaka was made a scapegoat amid claims he ‘lifted’ the Liverpool crowd

Ian Wright believes Granit Xhaka has been made a scapegoat amid claims he has ‘lifted’ the Liverpool crowd by taking on Trent Alexander-Arnold and says Arsenal’s failure to hold on to their lead ‘doesn’t matter’ the midfielder lies

  • Arsenal had taken a two-goal lead after an impressive first half at Anfield
  • Granit Xhaka was involved in a heated altercation with Trent Alexander-Arnold
  • Liverpool halved the deficit immediately afterwards and would go on to equalize

Ian Wright has defended Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka after claiming he lifted the Liverpool crowd in a thrilling 2-2 draw.

Arsenal got off to a brilliant start at Anfield, taking a two-goal lead on goals from Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus.

However, Xhaka lost his cool when he felt he had been fouled by Ibrahima Konate, and seconds later went into Trent Alexander-Arnold.

The moment sent the Liverpool crowd rioting with Mohamed Salah cutting the deficit in half almost immediately after, before Roberto Firmino completed the comeback with a late second-half header.

Despite criticism from the likes of Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, Wright believes Xhaka has been scapegoated and The Gunners’ failure to hold on to their lead is ‘not on’ the midfielder.

Granit Xhaka and Trent Alexander-Arnold clashed during a spirited league game at Anfield

Players from Liverpool and Arsenal had to intervene to separate the players, who had both been booked

Players from Liverpool and Arsenal had to intervene to separate the players, who had both been booked

He said on Match of the Day 2: ‘It doesn’t take much to get that crowd going.

“Even if Granit Xhaka went in there and punched someone, that crowd won’t get going any more than they were going to get.

“The fact is he has been brilliant for us this season. I think the story is people trying to point at someone. That’s how he plays, that’s how he probably plays in his backyard.

‘I wouldn’t do that to him. What I would do to us is that we couldn’t look out and keep playing like we did in the first half, but I think we will have learned a lot from that game.

“A lot of people went to Liverpool and didn’t get that. We should be happy with that point. We haven’t won there since 2012, so we have to take that point and be very happy.”

An image on match of the day 2 showed Liverpool had more shots after the altercation with Alexander-Arnold (17 compared to 4) and their possession was 52 per cent before compared to 63 per cent.

Mohamed Salah halved the deficit not long after the clash before substitute Roberto Firmino scored a late equalizer that saw Arsenal lose points in the title race

Mohamed Salah halved the deficit not long after the clash before substitute Roberto Firmino scored a late equalizer that saw Arsenal lose points in the title race

Ian Wright insisted Xhaka's loss of composure was not to blame for Arsenal's failure to win

Ian Wright insisted Xhaka’s loss of composure was not to blame for Arsenal’s failure to win

Sky Sports pundit Neville was at a loss as to why Xhaka chose to lash out in an intense moment.

Neville said, “He can’t get involved. He has been so good for Arsenal this season. That’s exactly what Liverpool would want.’

Carragher replied, saying, “What does he think?” 2-0 at Anfield, he just throws his arm into Trent. Just ridiculous.

“The audience stands up, the ball is already gone. It’s 2-0, we’re almost half time.’

At half-time after Salah’s goal, Micah Richards said: ‘They deserve that [the goal]. It all started with that Xhaka feud with Trent.

“Both got a yellow card, the crowd increased and from then on it was brilliant.”


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