Friday 18 January 2019

Xhaka: I'll show other side to my game

Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka. Photo: PA
Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka. Photo: PA

Granit Xhaka has proved he can mix it with the hardest opponents the Premier League can offer but now the Arsenal midfielder wants to show there is another side to his game.

The 24-year-old earned mixed reviews for his debut season in England last year as his performances were inconsistent and his discipline record poor. When Xhaka was sent off in a 2-1 win over Burnley back in January it was his second dismissal of the campaign and a ninth in three years.

The Switzerland international also picked up 12 bookings, including a run of five in five games, which led to Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger questioning his style of tackling. But, having shifted into a more orthodox midfield role since Wenger adapted his formation at the tail-end of last season, Xhaka is starting to show the type of form which saw the Gunners fork out a reported fee in excess of £30million to bring him in from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Xhaka admits he is feeling more comfortable with his Premier League surroundings as he looks to impose himself in a different way moving forward.

"I think every player needs time to adjust to a new league, a new country and new team-mates," he said ahead of this evening's clash at Stoke. "The back end of last season I already felt good and I am feeling more comfortable now and want to help the team as much as I can this season as well.

"I know it has been criticised but my style of play is to be aggressive. My two red cards can be discussed, were they necessary or not, but I am hoping to have less cards this season and build on the end of last season where I already had less."

Meanwhile, Valencia have signed defender Gabriel from Arsenal on a five-year deal. The 26-year-old Brazilian moves to the Mestalla for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £10m, as Wenger trims his squad.

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