Arsenal writer Charles Watts has explained that Mikel Arteta has a ‘really big choice’ to make regarding Granit Xhaka.
Having earned himself a red card in the Gunners’ 5-0 humiliation away at Manchester City, the Swiss midfielder has had to sit out the club’s last two league games.
Incidentally, Arsenal have managed to win both of those matches 1-0, against Norwich City and then Burnley. With the club facing AFC Wimbledon in the Carabao Cup next, Xhaka will have served his three-match ban in time to see him return for the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur.
Considering the club’s turnaround in form without the 28-year-old available, Watts has claimed that Arteta must make a big call on whether or not to bring Xhaka back into the team for the important upcoming fixture.
While speaking on his YouTube channel, he explained: “The big talking point, really, ahead of that game on Sunday revolves around a certain Granit Xhaka, who will be back available after his ban.
“He serves the last game of that three-match ban on Wednesday. So, he will miss the Wimbledon game, but he will be back available against Spurs, and so the big question here is: what do you do with Granit Xhaka?”
“For me, I think it’s a difficult one, it’s going to be a really big choice for Mikel to make, this one, because I think that 4-3-3 formation that we saw against Norwich and against Burnley, I think it might be a little bit risky against Spurs.
“Because let’s face it, although we don’t like Spurs, they’re not a bad side, they’re quite good. And if you’ve got Granit Xhaka completely on his own in midfield against Spurs against some technically gifted players who can pass the ball around, then you might come into a little bit of a problem.”
TIF Thoughts on Granit Xhaka and Arsenal…
Undoubtedly, Xhaka has been an important player in the Arsenal side. Last season, Arteta trusted him to start in 31 of the club’s 38 league games.
The Swiss international then started the opening three Premier League games of this campaign, before getting that red card against Man City.
Considering the club’s success without him in the side, it would make a certain degree of sense to keep Xhaka away from the team. However, Spurs are arguably more likely to pose a little more threat to Arsenal than either Norwich or Burnley, so Arteta may want that extra experience and defensive-mindedness in his team.
It’s a big call to make, but only time will tell if Arteta makes the right one.