Opinion: Is GranitXhaka slowly becoming the Arsenal 'scapegoat', following a disappointing seasonso far?

Opinion: Is GranitXhaka slowly becoming the Arsenal 'scapegoat', following a disappointing seasonso far?

The Swiss international has failed to kick on from his impressive ending to last season.

Matthew Sheppard

It seems to be around Christmas time, where stereotypically the wheels start falling off for Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger's side are quite incredibly closer to the Premier League's bottom placed side, than they are to the leaders, Manchester City.

Many star names have not at all reached their normal heights so far this campaign at the Emirates, and it is safe to say, that Granit Xhaka falls in to that category.


It feels very much so that Xhaka is still trying to prove himself in England's top division, following his £35million move from German outfit, Borussia Mönchengladbach last summer.

Following a tough start, where the Swiss international struggled to nail down a starting place in that Arsenal midfield, the start of 2017 seemed to be the year where Xhaka developed himself in to a regular starter for Wenger.

A fantastic ending to the 2016/2017 campaign followed, with high hopes heading in to this coming Premier League charge, though it hasn't quite worked like that for Xhaka.

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Xhaka seems to be, along with fellow teammate, Mesut Ozil, the go-to man when it comes to criticism when Arsenal suffer a defeat.

His role in the so called 'big games' comes under scrutiny, as he is branded 'not good enough' and not your stereotypical 'defensive midfielder. Though, I really do have sympathy for him.

Passing is Xhaka's biggest trait, with his range of long-range distribution, in my eyes being up there with the best in the league. Statistics will show, that he tends to complete the most passes out of any midfielder in the league after each game.

Personally, I don't see how Xhaka is labelled as a defensive midfielder, because he really isn't. He was brought in at the Emirates to be a deep-lying playmaker in that midfield, with someone who is more defensively shrewd alongside him.

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Partnership with Ramsey

The man hit tends to sit alongside Xhaka this season, has been Aaron Ramsey. Again, like with Xhaka, Ramsey is a midfielder who likes to be on the attack, pretty much the majority of the game, leaving gaps all over the place in that midfield and Xhaka becoming particularly isolated.

Both have come under heavy criticism this season so far, due to their lack of discipline and defensive knowledge, but at the end of the day, neither are defensive minded players.

Xhaka's form this campaign has been a worry, and that is largely due to him being tied up as Arsenal's only defensive midfielder. This was something that really should have been addressed in the summer, as it has been evident for many years now that Arsenal need that anchor in midfield, who will break up play and snuffle out attacks.

Performances away at Chelsea and at home to Tottenham have shown this season, that Xhaka has the quality and is a very good player on his day, but right now he is very much being held back, with no resolution in place anytime soon.