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97 passes, four tackles: Arsenal star deserves credit for Fulham display

Arsenal v Fulham - Premier League
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Arsenal

97 passes, four tackles: Arsenal star deserves credit for Fulham display

A look on social media on Sunday would suggest that most Arsenal fans are not convinced that Granit Xhaka is quite good enough to be Kieran Tierney’s understudy at left-back.

Xhaka has made a handful of appearances in that role now. And he has produced some impressive displays. But there have also been times when his lack of experience in that area of the field has been exposed.

Arsenal v Fulham - Premier League

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

In truth, he did not have his best day against Fulham at the weekend. However, none of Mikel Arteta’s squad would have left the field after their 1-1 draw feeling that they had managed to hit the same heights that saw them boot Slavia Prague out of the Europa League a few days earlier.

And some of Xhaka’s statistics from the game surely highlight exactly why Arteta turned to him when he needed another option at left-back.

Arsenal v Fulham - Premier League

(Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

As shown by Whoscored, he completed 97 passes – 16 more than any other player on the pitch. Gabriel Magalhaes was third on the list with 64 passes.

Meanwhile, he won all four of the tackles he attempted. Once again, no player on either side could better that tally.

 

He also won four aerial duels.

Xhaka – who earns £100,000-a-week, according to Spotrac – is a player who has come in for a lot of criticism during his time at the Emirates. And Sunday’s performance may not be one that will live long in the memory.

But it did show how Xhaka will never shy away from a challenge.

And it was a display that showed exactly why Arteta would seemingly make the Swiss one of the first names on his team sheet wherever he is needed.

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