Arsenal: Granit Xhaka is the most improved player of 2020

Granit Xhaka, Arsenal (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Granit Xhaka, Arsenal (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images) /

Mikel Arteta has truly worked wonders with Granit Xhaka at Arsenal…

Granit Xhaka. The name that is easy on the tongue was once used in a very negative tone among the conversations of Arsenal supporters. And rightfully so, given his performances at the time. Under Unai Emery in particular, Xhaka looked out of place and he had no sense of direction in the Arsenal starting XI.

This is the most notable change which Mikel Arteta made when he was unveiled as the new Arsenal boss in late 2019. The Spaniard came in and solidified an area of the pitch which was familiar to him, the midfield.

Now partnering Lucas Torreira on a more regular basis, not only has Xhaka received a sense of stability, but he’s also provided that stability in return to the Arsenal setup. This is why I think he’s Arsenal’s most improved player of the year so far.

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For a long time, it looked like his career in a red and white jersey was down and out. After his substitution against Crystal Palace which saw him say words I can’t repeat to the fans, he was stripped of the captaincy.

Most players would have given up at this point, but Xhaka didn’t. He worked hard on the training pitch to prove one thing to the Arsenal faithful; he meant it when he professed to love the club.

Xhaka’s playing style is very easy on the eye. He has a wide range of passing that he likes to unleash whenever the chance is right, often switching the play with his cross-field balls.

Although, the main improvement I have seen from the Swiss international is that of his defending. The defensive side to his game was once his biggest downfall and critics would use it against him but he has improved tenfold in this department. So much so, he has even covered at centre-backs at times this year.

Long story short, I really admire the work Xhaka has put in and I think it’s time to completely forgive him for what he did earlier in the season. It’s easy to pin the blame on someone when they’re in the wrong but it’s better to applaud them when they do right.

Arsenal fans can rest assured, Xhaka will only keep improving under Arteta and he will finally prove to be the player they thought he was when he signed.

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What do you think of Granit Xhaka’s performances this year?