Arsenal legend Martin Keown has suggested one of the reasons Kieran Tierney had to be dragged away at the end of the Gunners’ draw with Leeds United was because he was unhappy with Granit Xhaka for ‘fraternising with the enemy’.
The north Londoners dug in to secure a hard-fought draw at Elland Road on Sunday evening after Nicolas Pepe had been sent off at the start of the second half for a headbutt on Ezgjan Alioski.
Some of Arsenal’s players were unimpressed with the Leeds man, however, who went down easily after Pepe jutted his head towards him – though it was clearly a red card and he will miss the next three games.
At the end of the match, Tierney appeared to make a beeline for Alioski to call out his histrionics but was blocked by Xhaka, eventually having to be dragged away by his teammates and the coaching staff.
Although Tierney appeared to want to vent at Alioski for his role in Pepe’s sending off, Keown has suggested he was just as angry with Xhaka for laughing and joking with the Leeds man after the full-time whistle.
‘This is a team that are rebuilding under Arteta. I was impressed with some of the fighting spirit on show,’ wrote Keown in his column for the Daily Mail.
‘The way Kieran Tierney was trying to have a word with Leeds United’s Ezgjan Alioski at full-time — the player he saw as the protagonist in Pepe’s sending off — showed impressive fighting spirit.
‘He bombs forward and puts in those extra yards for his team.
‘Tierney might have felt incensed to see Granit Xhaka with his arm around Alioski at the end of the game after what had happened.
‘I would have certainly felt like that if I’d seen one of my team-mates practically fraternising with the enemy.
‘Xhaka then pushed Tierney away from the situation when he tried to confront Alioski.
‘But the dust will settle from that incident. Tierney is just the type of personality Arsenal need in their team.’