Xhaka at left-back proves Arsenal need a new midfielder

What Granit Xhaka at left-back tells us?

 

After Kieran Tierney was injured in the match against Liverpool at the start of the month, everybody expected either Bukayo Saka or Cedric Soares to fill the void.

Although Cedric replaced the Scotsman against Jurgen Klopp’s men, and then in the first leg against Slavia Prague, he was replaced by Granit Xhaka for the next tie.

Arsenal have played two games since, and Xhaka has been ever present there. With the team’s shape looking more flexible, it would not be surprising if Mikel Arteta plays that card once more against Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton on Friday.

Even though the former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder is almost as vastly involved in the game play as he was centrally, with his position change, maybe we come up with a fresh conclusion: Granit Xhaka’s career at the heart of Arsenal’s team looks to have finished.

That might sound harsh, after the performances the Swiss international has displayed this year. But not having a ponderous player like Xhaka in the center of the team, looks to be helping the team.

He might prove to be a good player at the latter stages of the season, but Arsenal have only played a season in the Champions League since the Swiss joined in 2016. Putting the full blame on his shoulders seems unfair, but he has had a fair share of ridiculous errors at the Emirates Stadium, but we won’t go into that…

Moving on, the Gunners have looked better, with Xhaka on the periphery when they are out of possession. Thomas Partey has superbly filled in, but just imagine if we can partner the Ghanaian with a more rounded midfield player than the 28-year-old who is a ticking timebomb.

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma has been linked to the club. And he might be the perfect player for Arteta’s squad. His athleticism, pace and interception qualities are a notch above Arsenal’s former captain.

He can cover up a lot of ground for the whole 90 minutes with his pace and stamina, unlike Granit Xhaka. He also has a sweet shooting boot in his pocket, which he can unleash when a particular team sits deep.

And at the age of 24, he is yet to reach full potential. His current manager Graham Potter said a few months back that the “best Bissouma” can play in the Champions League. And if you have watched him in Brighton’s latest games, you would not disagree.

Arsenal are believed to aim to revamp their squad massively in the close season. Adding Bissouma would only help their cause of being among the big boys again.

Arsenal performing well while Xhaka is being deployed in defence is no coincidence. They need better midfielders and looking beyond Xhaka is their best bet.

 

Yash Bisht

Tags left-back. Fulham Xhaka

6 Comments

  1. PJ-SA says:

    Xhaka is a bit of an enigma. I, myself, am not a huge fan but I won’t deny he can have big effects on some games too.

    He is a great passer, has a bit of fight in him and can keep a game ticking along but he also tends to slow down games, can time tackles poorly and struggles when playing a high pressing team.

    I think he just needs to be used correctly depending on the opposition.

    Personally I’d really love if we started to bring Azeez into the first team. The guy oozes talent and has a very cool head. I don’t think MA rates him though as he never gets off the bench even when we are comfortably winning a game.

  2. Val says:

    Xhaka is not the long term answer

    I will give him credit tho, he has played well there
    but the opposition hasnt been all that great yet.

    What playing Xhaka at LB brings is abit more stability in defending.

    As right now we dont have full backs bombing forward for an oveload every time they get the chance means we are not outnumbered on the counter.

    Setting up this way allows MA to field his strongest attacking players ( available ) and its basically all on them to produce going forward.

    It also allows us when we are in total control to go 3 at the back with Xhaka moving into midfield.

    Its very similar to the way we played or setup last season but with abit more possession.

    I get alot of you hate Xhaka but he is our Mr reliable, very rarely injured, will play where every the manager asks him to and still manages to put in decent performances and if he is fit, hes in the team, game after game.

    I’m sure he is our most used player this season, speaks volumes about how he goes about training and his conditioning

  3. Grandad says:

    While I am not a fan of Xhaka because he is so slow around the pitch, he is an intelligent midfielder who who brings balance to the team.Arteta has made the decision to use him, on a temporary basis, to deputise for KT, but by doing so, he has weakened our central midfield in my opinion.Elneny and Ceballos as a pair are bang average .Neither has the pace to cause the opposition problems by driving forward with the ball and that was clearly evident against Fulham yesterday.By sending out AMN and Willock on loan, we have limited our options in .midfield and the injury to Tierney has also highlighted the need for a genuine left footed back, which would prevent Arteta from having to make damaging changes elsewhere.Why was Cedric brought in if he is not considered as competent as Xhaka as a LB? In any event unless Arteta trusts any of our midfielders currently on loan, we need two new central midfielders for next season, as Elneny is clearly not good enough and, Ceballos, who I would not contemplate buying, will be back in Spain.Bissouma would fit the bill, but another quality player is needed to compete with Partey and Xhaka if the latter is still with us.

  4. Ba Elkhirsawy says:

    Do we need a midfeilder, definetely because ElNeny is not good enough, Dani C. and Martin O. areon loan. Our loan players, are expected to leave or young, Lucas T. wants to leave, Matteo G. should leave. It leaves us with Willock and AMN besides of Partey and Xhaka, probay Chambers.
    AMN and Chambers have not played enough in midfeild recently, though I have seen AMN with WBA. I hope he is doing well.
    I read Willock is doing fine, not sure if he playing no.8 or 10 have not watched him.

    Decision will depend on how ready AMN and Willock. And we would still need one player, I guess, even with them playing for Arsenal.
    ESR has no quality backup in no. 10, unless Willian can do the trick.

  5. jon fox says:

    I have longed for Xhaka to be sold since the black moment he first arrived. I loathe his attempts to call himself a “player”. He is utter rubbish and so slow that if he walked in TRAFALGAR SQUARE, NELSONS STATUE WOULD WALK PAST HIM. That statue is more mobile and flexible too. Even cream turns quicker than Xhaka.

  6. Beth says:

    this is blatantly ignoring that xhaka, no matter his position on the pitch, has never been on the periphery. he still has the most touches/passes/general involvement in the match despite being deployed at LB. THAT is what proves we need a new CM, xhaka is still the largest influence on the pitch. ceballos is positionally inept. elneny is just subpar. and ode is only on loan. we do need a new midfielder, but not bc of xhaka. if you can’t see that, you haven’t been watching the matches. he’s also the only player we have that isn’t made of glass.

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