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.