Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka has been named by Samuel Chukwueze as his toughest opponent from this season’s Europa League campaign.
Mikel Arteta had opted to field the Swiss midfielder as a makeshift defender in the absence of Kieran Tierney this term, a move that sought plenty of critics.
Xhaka was also blamed as at fault for the opening goal to Villarreal in the opening leg of their semi-final clash, which lead to negative comments from a number of pundits including Martin Keown.
Keown claimed that Chukwueze left Xhaka ‘exposed’ in his column at the DailyMail, so imagine my shock when the Nigerian forward himself named Xhaka as his toughest opponent this season?
The winger was asked questions by UEFA(via AllNigeriaSoccer) in the run-up to tonight’s big final when he was asked his toughest opponent in the competition thus far, when he responded: “It was (Granit) Xhaka. He was man-to-man marking me. He didn’t give me space.
“He was just very close to me and I couldn’t move an inch”.
Samuel got to come up against Kieran Tierney in the second-leg thanks to an injury sustained in the warm-up, but it was the Swiss international who gained the plaudits from his opponent.
Was Xhaka’s use at left-back unfairly criticised?