Granit Xhaka: The good, the bad and the ugly
Burnley v Arsenal - Premier League

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 06: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal looks dejected following the Premier League match between Burnley and Arsenal at Turf Moor on March 06, 2021 in Burnley, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Peter Powell - Pool/Getty Images)

Granit Xhaka is like Marmite within the Arsenal fan base. His inconsistency is undeniable but the ability to control the tempo of games and fire a phenomenal free-kick from distance is easy on the eye.

Very cliche, but when he is on his game, he is often one of the best players on the park. The critics appear when the same old mistakes show up time and time again. 

He has been at Emirates Stadium since 2016 and all three managers have rated him, despite a spat with Unai Emery before his sacking in November 2019.

Sporting the number 34 at Arsenal since 2018, the importance of that number has carried through after his brother wore the same number at Basel. 

The good

A vocal leader and the capacity to score a free-kick is what Xhaka is associated with when his name is in lights. The performance against Chelsea on Boxing Day proved his dominance and occasional five start performance.

One goal and two assists from 23 games is his Premier League tally thus far in this campaign. 

It's in fact the contribution from a deeper role with catches the eye, and subsequently why Arteta sees the Swiss midfielder as a pivotal player.

Anchoring in front of the back four and trying to find that perfect diagonal, Arsenal attacks often start with Xhaka picking up the ball from the defence. 

Finding the eye of the needle ball inside the left channel is a favoured approach from Arteta, which Xhaka can deploy exquisitely.

The bad

Mistakes. One word that every football fan will associate with the sporadic Arsenal skipper. 

He has been at fault for nine Premier League goals during his time in the English capital, the most recent came against Burnley in Lancashire during the last round of topflight fixtures.

Receiving the ball from Bernd Leno and crashing the new Nike football into the side of Chris Wood, which ricocheted in the back of the net, once his standing foot is planted, there is no going back. He simply has to release it.

This season alone, Xhaka has been involved with two errors that have led directly to goals. His naivety and sometimes lack of awareness can often put him in a spot of bother. 

The mistake against Burnley was accompanied with an unwanted statistic. No player has made more errors leading to goals than Xhaka since the start of the 2016/2017 season.

The ugly

Finding the blend between professionalism and aggression can define the art of mastering the dirty work side of football.

It is the latter that comes naturally to Granit, the former has been questionable on many, many occasions.

Receiving three red cards in his Premier League era, the most recent outburst came against Burnley 11 minutes into the second half in December. 

Losing the game 1-0, Xhaka was made the scapegoat after latching his hand around the neck of Ashley Westwood.

The truth is that many Arsenal fans haven't forgotten about the unusual substitution exit against Crystal Palace in October 2019.

Not agreeing with Emery's decision to sub him off, a riled Xhaka dramatically threw off his Gunners jersey and allegedly told the Arsenal fans to 'do one' - putting politely - after his departure was sarcastically welcomed.

Despite the opinion, Xhaka is set to remain in the Gunners midfield for the foreseeable. His contract expires in 2023 but it is clear that Arteta values his deep lying playmaker in high regard.