Football: Arteta criticises red-carded Xhaka as Arsenal crisis deepens with loss to Burnley

Arsenal's Granit Xhaka looks dejected after being sent off during the match on Dec 13, 2020.
Arsenal's Granit Xhaka looks dejected after being sent off during the match on Dec 13, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Arsenal slumped to a fourth consecutive home defeat in English football's top flight for the first time since 1959 after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's own goal handed Burnley a 1-0 win on Sunday (Dec 13).

The Gunners were again undone by indiscipline as Granit Xhaka's needless sending-off just before the hour mark turned the Premier League game in Burnley's favour.

Aubameyang is still waiting for his first league goal from open play since signing a lucrative new three-year contract in September, but scored at the wrong end when he flicked in Ashley Westwood's corner 17 minutes from time.

Victory takes Burnley out of the relegation zone, while Arsenal creep ever closer to the drop zone as they sit 15th, just five points above the bottom three.

"We need to put the ball in the net, that's what is missing. What we did and what Burnley did, there is no comparison," said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

The Spaniard was hailed for his instant impact in leading Arsenal to the FA Cup last season, just eight months into his first senior managerial role.

However, he is now under mounting pressure with little sign his side can turn things around and high-flying Southampton, Everton, Manchester City in the League Cup and Chelsea to come in their next four games.

It was a familiar tale for Arteta's men as they failed to take their chances and were then undone by a red card and one moment of sloppy defending.

Arsenal have scored just twice in their last eight league games.

England international Nick Pope repelled the home side before half-time with saves from Kieran Tierney, Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka.

However, Arsenal's momentum was lost when Xhaka was shown the third red card of his career at the Emirates for grabbing Westwood by the throat.

That was the sixth red card Arsenal have been shown in Arteta's time in charge, double the number of anyone else in the Premier League in that time.

"We know that these things are unacceptable and the moment that we are in now, it's even more so," added Arteta.

"We had complete dominance from the start to the moment that Xhaka was sent off. We created all the chances, pressing, the attitude of the players was amazing the way we played in moments it was really good.

"They are really willing and probably too willing in key moments, we over-stepped the line and got a man sent off."

Burnley relied on a set-piece to make their one-man advantage count as Aubameyang unwittingly turned Westwood's teasing delivery into his own net.

The return of 2,000 fans proved a galvanising force for clubs in areas of England able to reopen their gates over the weekend, but there were boos at the Emirates at full-time with Arsenal finding themselves in the unchartered territory of a relegation fight.