After watching Granit Xhaka give the ball away four times in the first twelve minutes against Everton, I thought there must be some really good reason why the Swiss continues to start. After all, Arsenal could have conceded twice in that period of time, as a result of Xhaka’s mistakes, but Unai Emery did not substitute arguably Arsenal’s biggest liability. Here are my possible reasons why:
1. Xhaka improves as the game goes on. After making four early errors, he only gave the ball away once thereafter, so kept possession well.
2. Xhaka gives other players confidence. Look how well Petr Cech played on Sunday; he must have thought: ‘Even my passing is better than Xhaka’s!’
3. Xhaka is good at pointing and he looks organised. Although the defensive midfield shape was beyond a joke, Xhaka seems to make all the right noises and gestures; these take players a long way in football.
4. Xhaka seems to be a good talker. When you’ve got so many silent types, it does actually help having a player who’s not afraid to communicate.
5. Xhaka will score the odd goal. The Swiss smashed the ball wide against Everton, but it was a powerful strike.
6. Xhaka has a wealth of experience. The Switzerland skipper never seem to worry about his mistakes, so you could argue that he’s mentally strong.
7. Xhaka’s in a winning team, si few managers would want to change it, especially as the Swiss was one of the best outfield players despite a just above average performance.
If you’ve got any reasons of your own, I’d love to hear them.