Granit Xhaka’s omission from the starting 11 in Arsenal’s important early fixtures has left many bewildered. And why not? It was presumed that the Swiss international was bought to bolster a strong yet physically less intimidating midfield.
However, Arsene Wenger has played Francis Coquelin ahead of the £35m summer signing alongside Cazorla. His performance against Chelsea and in the previous fixtures, coming off the bench, has left former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher impressed beyond reasonable doubt.
According to The Independent, Jamie Carragher has claimed that Granit Xhaka is Arsenal’s future. In spite coming on board for a heft fee, the midfielder has not found a starting spot in the last 3 fixtures, but has impressed with his scoring ability from a long range, finding the net twice from two long range efforts against Nottingham Forest in the League Cup and Hull City in the Premier League.
Carragher believes it’s time that Xhaka is handed the responsibility of ‘driving his team forward’.
Here is what the former Liverpool defender had to say on the Swiss midfielder:
Only last week, he [Wenger] sang the praises of how good Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin have been in midfield.
That might be so but that axis has not been good enough to take Arsenal to where they want to go so why persist with it?
Xhaka scored another thumping goal in Arsenal’s League Cup win at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday but Wenger has been intent on easing him into his team.
Xhaka is surely the future and if he has the talent that Wenger says he has, you would expect him to be at home in this type of battle.
As Carragher has said, Xhaka’s physicality and strengths in the middle of the park have certainly complimented Arsenal’s fluidity and ‘pass and move’ style of play. Not only does Xhaka have the stature, size and qualities to be a tough tackling midfielder, he also has a footballing brain.
To see him on the bench against Chelsea was momentarily disheartening. However, he was sent onto the pitch after the first half hour to replace the injured Francis Coquelin, and did not disappoint.
With Francis Coquelin out injured, Xhaka is likely to find a place in the starting 11 alongside Santi Cazorla in the middle of the park.