Arsenal F.C.

From flop to fan favourite: How Xhaka silenced critics to become one of ...

That may be a somewhat surprising sentence for many Arsenal fans to read after Xhaka’s error-laden performances last season, but a clear improvement has been made under the tutelage of Gunners head coach Unai Emery.

Xhaka has forged an excellent partnership with summer signing Lucas Torreira this season after Matteo Guendouzi had started the first few games alongside the Uruguayan.

The stat that Xhaka has now made more errors that have led directly to Premier League goals than any other player since his debut for the club two years ago is also a frustrating one, yet the improvement in the 23-year-old’s game is clear for all to see.

The contract extension which saw him commit to Arsenal until 2023 was another show of faith from the club in a player who has divided opinion since he first joined from Borussia Monchengladbach as the youngest ever captain of the Bundesliga side.

The positives of Xhaka are his ability to control a game from midfield without many people noticing, while the downfalls have been much talked about and generally costly for a Gunners defence which leaked goals throughout last season.

With games against the likes of Huddersfield, Southampton and Burnley approaching, a further opportunity awaits for Xhaka to showcase his influential qualities at the centre of Arsenal’s midfield engine.

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