Mikel Arteta has been questioned from all kinds of angles after his team selection last night, with Freddie Ljungberg and Martin Keown admitting their unhappiness seeing Granit Xhaka as Arsenal’s left-back.
The Swiss international has been filling in on the side of the defence in the absence of main option Kieran Tierney, with Cedric Soares failing to convince the manager that he is suited to the role.
The Portuguese defender has played there on a few occasions, but his lack of comfort using his left-foot appears to have left the manager with decisions to make.
The pundits at BT Sport last night were not happy however, as Xhaka’s frailties in the tackle looked suspect, as discussed by Martin Keown and Freddie Ljungberg.
Our former defender believes that Xhaka isn’t comfortable in the role, as highlighted by his shouts to Ceballos to cover in front of him.
“He’s pointing to Ceballos to get in front of him,” Keown said on BT Sport after the game(via HITC). “It looks like the action of a player who is not comfortable in that position and the manager has put him there.
“So it’s about the decisions of the manager, it’s not Xhaka’s fault.
“I do believe he’s the most improved player we have. But to play him at left-back leaves him exposed for me.”
“That’s what I wanted to say,” Ljungberg agreed. “We know Granit’s weaknesses, he’s a fantastic player with the ball and his left foot is very good but he’s slow.
“So one against one that’s why he drops all the time, he doesn’t dare to come up because he’s scared to get done. You can’t blame him too much though.”
The experiment with Xhaka at left-back will hopefully be over before the second-leg however with talk that Tierney is set to return to action.