Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed the Granit Xhaka has been named club captain. The queue behind the Swiss international goes like this: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette, and Mesut Ozil – these players are in line for the armband in case Xhaka is unavailable to play.
The boss praised the midfielder’s commitment, behaviour, experience and determination, but most of all his ability to deal with pressure and criticism and lead the way.
Xhaka has indeed been criticized a lot lately, and his ability not to let it affect his will certainly come in handy as he strives to lead this team forward, but only time will tell if the player so often under scrutiny due to questionable performances is a suitable captain. But, the dressing room has chosen; so let’s hope their insight into his personality that comes with working with him every day counts for something.
Bellerin and Holding are back, Tierney makes debut
Emery also spoke about the game Arsenal played against Nottingham Forrest on Tuesday evening, pointing out that the Carabao Cup clash which the Gunners won convincingly was hugely important. It saw Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding return to the fold after long injury absences, as well as new boy Kieran Tierney make his club debut.
The boss expressed happiness with having the three players finally at his disposal, believing the team is now not only more competitive, but better overall. The defence has been the shakiest department of the team for a long time now, and the fact that three defenders have come to boost its ranks is certainly excellent news. Both defensive flanks are now better covered, especially the right where it was mostly Ainsley Maitland-Niles being played out of position. The youngster will now be hoping he can return to competing for a place higher up the pitch, with Bellerin and likely Calum Chambers taking over.
The arrival of Holding and Tierney will hopefully mean better focus – or places lost – for the likes of Sead Kolasinac, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz.
Let’s wait and see whether Emery will decide to shake things up when the Gunners go to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday.
Arsenal can be backed at 19/10 to beat the Red Devils.