Granit Xhaka has divided opinion among the Arsenal fan base since he arrived at the club in 2016 for a fee of $40.5 million. His time with the club has been a roller coaster of emotions for Arsenal supporters everywhere. This all culminated on October 27th, 2019 against Crystal Palace.
Granit Xhaka is a 27-year-old Swiss midfielder who plays mostly as a CDM (Central Defensive Midfielder) but also plays as a CM. Xhaka has shown good and bad attributes for Arsenal over these 4 years. He has shown a great long-range shot as well as very accurate long balls. He loves having the ball at his feet and picking out a pass. He has 12 goals and 17 assists in his 169 appearances for Arsenal a lot of those goals coming from shots outside the box.
On the other side of the ball, he has shown many defensive frailties and taken many unwarranted risks. Xhaka has the highest amount of errors leading to goals (7) among Premier League midfielders in his four years with the club. He also has had 2 red cards and conceded 5 penalties in the Premier League. Those 5 penalties are more than any other player in the league during that time period. At times it seems like Xhaka would prefer a more attacking role, but because of the needs of Arsenal, he has almost exclusively played CDM.
Xhaka Tells Fans to F*** Off
Xhaka’s 2019/20 campaign got off to a bad start, to say the least. He had a very poor string of performances highlighted by the penalty he conceded against Spurs. This poor start all came to a head when He was being subbed off at the Emirates against Crystal Palace. As he was walking off the pitch he was booed by the Arsenal supporters. Xhaka, who was the captain of the club at the time, responded by raising his arms, cupping his ears, and telling the angry crowd to f*** off. This only further antagonized the already irate Arsenal supporters.
In his apology or non-apology after he said he was really frustrated with negative supporters and people threatening him and his family on social media. He was eventually removed as captain in favor of Aubameyang. Many rumors then circulated that Xhaka was requesting a trade in January to Hertha Berlin. However, when Mikel Arteta was hired he made it clear that he was a critical player for his plans for Arsenal. Arteta even went on to say that he wanted Manchester City to sign him when he was an assistant manager there.
Xhaka Under Arteta
He has looked like a new man under Arteta. He has controlled the midfield in many matches and looks like he has turned the corner defensively. Arsenal did not look the same without Xhaka after he went down with an injury in the first minutes of the Manchester City match. They lost that match and the one after against Brighton. After he returned Arsenal have not lost a match and have only conceded 2 goals in 5 matches.
Yes, Arsenal should keep Xhaka. I believe in Arteta’s plan for Arsenal and Xhaka has shown massive improvements under Arteta so far. I would love to see him play alongside Thomas Partey next season at Arsenal. Arsenal supporters need to get behind him and bring more positive energy to the club. Arsenal is a massive club with a huge fan base worldwide so it does not come as a surprise that some ‘supporters’ take things way too far. However, whenever my fellow Arsenal supporters see vile hate, racism, or threats we need to do everything we can to report the parties responsible and make it clear that we will not stand for that.
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