Mikel Arteta has been criticised for starting Granit Xhaka as a left-back against Villarreal last night after the Swiss midfielder struggled in the game.
Xhaka has been used in that position by the Gunners recently as Kieran Tierney suffers from different injury problems.
The Swiss midfielder is naturally left-footed, but he lacks the pace to thrive in that position.
Arteta has used Cedric Soares and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as a backup there before, but he seems to believe that Xhaka is a better fit compared to his other options.
Xhaka’s lack of pace makes it a baffling decision to play him there because he would likely come up in a one-on-one situation with tricky players.
That happened in the Villarreal game with Samuel Chukwueze attacking him for the host’s first goal.
Xhaka always had support from other teammates when he is being attacked, but it was clear to see that he was in the wrong position and Martin Keown says the blame should be on Arteta.
Keown said on BT Sport via HITC: “He’s pointing to Ceballos to get in front of him. 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.”