Granit Xhaka scored his first Premier League goal against Shell City. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Xhaka could certainly focus on his positioning but Arsenal rarely, when, fall into line in a manner that sees they compensate for the issues of their individuals.
At Borussia Mönchengladbach, for example, Xhaka was included in three central defenders and performed plus the incredibly sports Mahmoud Dahoud, a youthful all-round midfielder lately signed by Borussia Dortmund. A powerful man-marking system forced mistakes up high the pitch as frequently as you possibly can, instead of stretching Xhaka across vast areas to pay for with little support.
They aren’t luxuries he’s been afforded in north London.
Of his 27 starts for Arsenal, 24 came with one midfield partner and three will be in much more of a 4-3-3. Even just in individuals three appearances Xhaka has switched between your greatest role along with a box-to-box brief.
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Francis Coquelin, energetic but rarely showing for that ball and departing Xhaka with an island as he presses, has began 10 of 24 games as Xhaka’s partner. Another 14 are dispersed across Santi Cazorla (four), Aaron Ramsey (five), Mohamed Elneny (four) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (one).
Cazorla is technically superb and try to wants the ball but has declined physically. Ramsey is decent all-round but has battled for form and may stray forward – accidentally or design – a tad too much. Coquelin is energetic from possession however a spare part when Arsenal possess the ball. Elneny isn’t any final third threat and merely safe using the ball.
With all these players getting incredibly different attributes, how’s Xhaka designed to constantly adapt? He needs to be Cazorla’s engine, Ramsey’s defensive partner, Coquelin’s technical ability. It’s just impossible.
The confusion dates back so far as September.