Being Arsenal’s best player at the World Cup so far should be put into perspective. The reality is most of our star names are all on a beach somewhere having not qualified to go to Russia, kind of a reflection on our season. Yet for a man who has been everyone’s favourite scapegoat since arriving in England it’s only fair we acknowledge Xhaka’s form when it’s positive.
To be fair he’s yet to face any serious competition from his fellow gooners for contender of best gunner of the World Cup. A long way to go of course but how many of his team-mates will still be playing in the later rounds.
We keep being told how Iwobi is better for club then country, yet when the pressure was on him to show his talent he went missing, sounds familiar? Iwobi was so poor against Croatia he was a sub vs Iceland. The bench is the closest Monreal has got to any action, Wellbeck couldn’t get on even when England needed a goal, Ospina could’ve done better for Japan’s winner, Ozil was pressured to be dropped for Germany and unlike 4 years ago Joel Campbell has failed to use this tournament to convince anyone he deserves a fresh chance. Even our apparent incomings are not getting into starting line ups (eg Torrera).
Xhaka though has shown leadership qualities as Swiziland have earned a credible 4 points. He showed no intimidation facing Brazil while he equalised against Serbia with a strike he’s become renowned for. Some fans are surprised he has been rewarded with a lengthy contract. However I noticed improvement as the year progressed. I don’t think he got credit for good form as it got to a point last campaign where the Emirates crowd were so dismayed, it took a lot to put smiles back on their faces.
It was suggested that perhaps Arsene Wenger was not playing him in his correct role. Xhaka’s strength is his range of passing. By asking him to sit in the DM position you are not letting him focus on what he is natural at. With Wilshire gone and the type of individuals we are linked with, it wouldn’t surprise me if the plan is to have someone sitting in front of our defence , leaving Xhaka to ping balls across the pitch.
So well done Xhaka for a good World Cup so far. After his critics for his goal celebration, he could do with some kind words.