Granit Xhaka stats prove Arteta was right to praise Arsenal ace before Newcastle
Granit Xhaka was at his best in Arsenal’s comfortable 3-0 win at home to Newcastle on Monday night – justifying Mikel Arteta’s praise before the game.
The Gunners claimed their fourth win in five games thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's brace and a Bukayo Saka strike, leaving them five points adrift of the top six.
With the likes of Saka and fellow academy graduate Emile Smith-Rowe receiving all the plaudits of late, though, Xhaka produced a solid performance against the Magpies to show exactly why Arteta has kept the faith in him this season.
Several Arsenal fans were calling for the midfielder to leave when he was brandished a red card in their 1-0 defeat at home to Burnley earlier in the campaign.
But Arteta was full of compliments for Xhaka before the win over Newcastle, saying: “After the red card and with the history that he had, he was in a difficult place and we had to try and bring him back where we believe he can be and where he should be – which is being one of the leaders of the team and giving us stability and the presence he can provide to the team and to the club.
“I think since he’s been back he’s been phenomenal; he’s playing really, really well.
“Against Palace, he had some really important moments and he’s still young. He’s still a player who can evolve. It’s great for us to have him back.”
And Xhaka’s assured first-half display on Monday night backed up Arteta’s words.
The Switzerland international completed the most passes (53) out of any player on the pitch, while also registering a 96 per cent pass accuracy.
He recovered possession more times than any other player (11) and completed the most take-ons (3/3).
Xhaka also recorded the most amount of passes in the final third (17).
Get the latest transfer news straight into your inbox!
Want to be on the ball with all of the latest football news?
Well then sign up for the brilliant new Daily Star Sport email newsletter!
From the latest transfer news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.
How do you sign up?
It only takes a matter of seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article and hit 'subscribe'.
And that's it, job done. You'll receive an email with all of the top news stories every single morning.
You can find out more information on our email newsletter on this link here.
Arteta will be hoping for more of the same from him when they go away to Southampton in their next Premier League outing.
The trip to St Mary’s marks the start of a tough run of games for Arsenal, who will then host Premier League leaders Manchester United before going away to Wolves and high-flying Aston Villa.
Source: Read Full Article