BBC pundit Garth Crooks named Arsenal star Granit Xhaka in his team of the week yesterday, but then claimed he simply does not like the midfielder.
The Gunners faced Brentford at lunchtime on Sunday and they were superb. They picked up a comfortable 3-0 win, and Xhaka was one of the best players on the pitch.
BBC pundit Garth Crooks says he does not like Arsenal star Granit Xhaka
Thomas Partey returned from his injury yesterday and that gave Xhaka much more freedom to venture forward.
The Swiss international was, at times, higher up the pitch than every other Arsenal player and was a big threat in attack. He has been so good that he already has more direct goal contributions this season than in each of the last three campaigns.
Most Arsenal fans absolutely love Xhaka now, but Crooks still seems to be hungover about everything the Swiss international has done in the past.
The pundit wrote in his column on BBC Sport: “I don’t like Granit Xhaka. I find him confrontational, overly aggressive and altogether irritating. Nevertheless, on his day he’s a very good player.
“He should have left Arsenal years ago. However, for some reason he has not only stayed at the club, but also occasionally wears the captain’s armband, such is his popularity these days.
“Against Brentford, he looked very impressive and so did Arsenal. I would like to know why Brentford didn’t look up for this game, but the Gunners were so good I rather suspect that even if they had it wouldn’t have changed anything – Arsenal were that good. Most worrying.”
Xhaka has always divided opinion at Arsenal, but since the turn of this year, he has mostly been brilliant. His performances since the start of this season have been on another level.
The £100,000-a-week Swiss international is one of Arteta’s main men now. His runs from midfield are causing a lot of problems for every team, and he is one of the reasons why the Gunners are on top of the league table.
Crooks is entitled to his opinion. A few Arsenal fans would’ve probably backed his claim a year ago, but they’re singing Xhaka’s name, which just shows he has completely turned things around.
Xhaka is a star for Arsenal now, and Arteta will be hoping he can keep up that form until the end of the season.