Arsenal’s season have started pretty decently amid their opening day loss against Liverpool. Now, Wenger and the Gunners will expect a strong run from the team. And to be successful, Arsenal’s midfield maestros will have to come into the party and raise their level.
Their latest midfield recruitment has been Granit Xhaka who was signed from German side Borussia Monchengladbach for a fee around £35 million and will play a pivotal part according to Arsene Wenger. Wenger also said that Xhaka is going to make a huge impact in the premier league and he expects the Swiss International to transform as a ‘Box to Box’ midfielder.
Granit Xhaka is more of a defensive leader than an offensive player. He has a strong tackle and a very good reader of the game,also had one of the highest tally of interceptions in the Bundesliga last season. But, his attacking side has improved a lot as we saw some great long balls against Watford and a screamer against Hull City. The Swiss international is still adapting in England but need to be utilised perfectly for the optimum extract.
Now in the central midfield of Arsenal, he can pair up with different partners- Cazorla, Ramsey, Elneny and maybe very seldom with Coquelin.
With Cazorla: Santi Cazorla has been outstanding so far and Xhaka may well be a perfect fit with the Spaniard. We may see Xhaka playing a bit more defensively and then Santi can have the ball and make his runs and the passes towards flanks. Xhaka may well also let those delicious long balls fly but we can expect more of a compact role in front of the centre backs for Granit.
With Elneny: This partnership may not be that regular as I doubt Wenger will field both Xhaka and Elneny together regularly. But, Elneny is an adventurous player who loves to take long distance strikes and go forward. Xhaka may have to play a more conservative role then and sit in front of the back four.
With Ramsey: Being a box to box midfielder himself, Ramsey bears all the work load, but with Xhaka’s presence, Aaron may have a bit more freedom going forward. With Alexis, Ox or Walcott on the flanks, the long diagonal balls from Xhaka and then Ramsey and Giroud in the box may turn out to be a hit for Arsenal.
With Coquelin: We may see this pair in extreme cases, where Arsenal will require both of the midfield players to shield their back four. Otherwise, this midfield combination may not be the way to go.Even if we see this, Xhaka can be utilised as an advanced player as we saw today against Hull.
Xhaka has the potential to become an integral part of Arsenal’s plans, he has started pretty decently as well. Now it’s all about how the off field partnership with Wenger flourish and it’s quite vivid that Le Professor has his plans with Xhaka that may give Arsenal a midfield beast. Premier League is physically more demanding, so he has to remain fit and do the basics right to emerge as a midfield Talisman for Arsenal.In terms of discipline, Xhaka needs to be a bit more alert and under Wenger he will learn that calming essence as well.
All we can expect is a very significant part of Xhaka in this season and for the years to come, let’s hope for the very best.