Arsenal have discipline ‘problem’ as Partey’s ‘stupid’ red adds to worrying stats

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Arsenal legend Ray Parlour has urged the Gunners to fix their disciplinary record after yet another player saw red in the 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Substitute Thomas Partey, rushed back after Ghana’s Africa Cup of Nations exit, picked up a couple of reckless yellow cards in quick succession, as two goals from Diogo Jota sent the Gunners crashing out of the Carabao Cup.

Partey only arrived back in the UK at noon on Thursday

AFP

Partey only arrived back in the UK at noon on Thursday

The Ghanaian was only introduced in the 74th minute

Getty

The Ghanaian was only introduced in the 74th minute

It follows Granit Xhaka’s careless red card in the first leg and means Mikel Arteta will now be without both of his first-choice midfielders for the Premier League clash with Burnley on Sunday.

More alarmingly, though, Partey’s dismissal was the 14th red card Arsenal have been shown since Arteta was appointed in December 2019.

For context, the top-flight side with the next most in that time is Southampton, who have received eight.

Speaking after the match, Arteta said: “I am very disappointed because when you have the final there, one game away, you have a level of excitement and you’re really looking forward to it.

“We did everything we could to put a competitive team out and I think we had our moments in the game against a top side.

Xhaka got his marching orders for this challenge at Anfield

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Xhaka got his marching orders for this challenge at Anfield

“Obviously it [the red card] is again a big loss and we have to learn from that. We played the last three games with ten men and against those top sides you cannot do that because you are completely exposed.

“It is difficult enough to beat them, and with ten men it becomes a real challenge and it is not what we need for sure with the amount of players out, not to have him.”

Arsenal have been reduced to ten men in each of their last three matches against Premier League opposition, with Gabriel sent off during their defeat to Manchester City earlier this month.

And Parlour, who spent 15 years with the Gunners, admits it is something that requires Arteta’s urgent attention.

“There is a problem there,” Parlour told talkSPORT Breakfast.

Arsenal have been shown six more red cards than any other Premier League side during Arteta’s tenure

AFP

Arsenal have been shown six more red cards than any other Premier League side during Arteta’s tenure

“I think he needs to sit down with the team and say, ‘Look, silly mistakes, you’re making so many mistakes!’

“Suddenly, he’s out for the weekend. They were light in midfield anyway and he would’ve been a big player back after being at AFCON, suddenly he’s missing again.

“I played in a team that got red cards, I’m not saying we didn’t. But not as regularly as this team now.

“I know the rules have changed a bit and you can’t tackle sometimes, but that was a stupid mistake last night. A really stupid mistake and he’s let his team down.”

Former Arsenal midfielder Adrian Clarke also joined talkSPORT to react to the semi-final defeat, and he believes Arteta may now regret putting Partey back into the team immediately following his AFCON return.

Arteta’s Arsenal are no longer in contention to win any silverware this season

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Arteta’s Arsenal are no longer in contention to win any silverware this season

“It’s just a lack of discipline isn’t it – when you’re on a yellow card you can’t go lunging in like that. It was not a nice challenge.

“Mikel Arteta will regret putting him on because he’s now suspended for the Burnley game, we know that Arsenal are incredibly short on central midfielders at the moment.

“It was a huge lack of discipline and it follows on from Xhaka against Liverpool and Gabriel against Man City – these big games where the so-called senior players are making these poor decisions.

“They have to be much better.”

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