Granit Xhaka has had a good start to his Arsenal career having scored two magnificent goals in just a handful of games and has become a favourite amongst the fans. Calls to give Xhaka a starting position on the team against Chelsea were left unanswered by Arsene Wenger last weekend, however now that Francis Coquelin seems to be ruled out for the time being, Xhaka will finally get the chance to kickstart hopefully a long career with the club.
Arsenal are likely to give Xhaka a starting role against his old club Basel, where he initially broke onto the scene in European football. Xhaka will more than likely line up against his old side from the start, given that Coquelin is injured, as well as the fact that his recent performances have earned him a start on the pitch. Xhaka will not only be playing against his old side, but also his brother Taulant Xhaka, in a similar scenario to how the pair came face to face at this summer’s European Championships.
Ahead of the game, Granit’s brother had nothing by praise for his younger sibling, with Taulant feeling that Arsenal is a fantastic choice for Granit and ideal for his brother to make the step up in quality. Taulant Xhaka is quoted as saying: “He needs to be patient but he knows this and I am sure he can progress there.
“Arsene Wenger is a coach who takes a lot of young players – he gives them confidence and also tries to help them as people. It was the same when he moved to Germany, he needed time but he learnt a lot. He changed, became more self-confident, more open to people. It was a good step to join Arsenal. Granit is very comfortable, very integrated. He is very happy there and he has already scored some super goals.”
Taulant clearly recognises that Granit will get his chance under Wenger, despite a period of irregularity where he’s been used as a sub. It seems as if Granit has integrated well at the club already, both on the pitch and off it, which is good for bonding and confidence as a team. Xhaka is more than capable of becoming one of Arsenal’s leading players on the pitch in the coming years and although it’s still only early days into his Arsenal career, I think that he may end up shining a lot more than many originally expected. I know I for one have been left astonished by how quickly he has settled at Arsenal and the improvement in quality and ability he has brought to the team.