Sky Sports pundit Jobi McAnuff has claimed that Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has pulled off “one of the biggest turn-arounds in Premier League history” following his recent run of form for the Gunners.
The Swiss midfielder has been a standout performer for Mikel Arteta’s side this term, and has featured in all eight top flight fixtures so far, scoring twice and assisting three more from a slightly more advanced position in the centre of the park.
Xhaka’s recent output is made all the more remarkable by the low point at which he found his Arsenal career towards the end of 2019. The player was booed and jeered by his own fans as he left the field during a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace. After cupping his ears and swearing at the crowd in retaliation, the 30-year-old was stripped of the club’s captaincy, and seemingly appeared to have played his last game for the club.
Consequently, McAnuff has argued that Xhaka’s resurrection as a key member of Arteta’s team is one of the most notable in recent memory.
Speaking on Soccer Saturday, he said: “It’s got to be up there with the biggest turn-arounds in Premier League history, I suppose, with where he was, effectively out the door, to now being literally the first name on the team sheet. I think Mikel Arteta has to take a huge amount of credit.
“He’s obviously a player who knows his position very well, but he has featured further forward, there’s been a little tweak to that, and you can see there quality there. I think a lot of people look at him as a defensive midfielder, as just a sitter, but he’s got a lot more to his game, and he’s really revelled in this attacking role.
“I think he’s playing with a lot more maturity now. I think Mikel Arteta’s given him that responsibility, and I think he’s really relishing that role. He’s really flourishing and he’s been absolutely magnificent.”