Granit Xhaka has bags of talent. Speed, skill, passing; he’s got a ton of ability and his body of work thus far in his career shows why Arsene decided to buy him over the summer.
What he also has, though, is a bit of a discipline problem, a problem that reared its ugly head yesterday as he got a straight red card for an extremely late challenge on Modou Barrow. Xhaka will now miss the next three games, two in the league and one EFL Cup, and when asked about the foul yesterday, Wenger said:
“Intelligence means you don't make the same mistake twice, and I hope he learns from that," Wenger said. "Before in Germany he had some [disciplinary problems], but I think he's not a dirty player at all.”
I agree with that last sentiment - I don’t believe Xhaka is a dirty player. He’s hard-edged, and that means in the Premier League you walk a very fine line between “rough” and “dirty”. The Premier League is no longer primarily a bash-and-smash defender’s league, as it was in the 90’s; it’s a much more technical, much faster and more skill-oriented league, and while Xhaka absolutely has the skill, it seems he’ll have to learn the art of holding back while still retaining the hard edge that got Arsene to buy him in the first place.