Arsenal legend Ian Wright has criticised Granit Xhaka for his “very negative” style of play, joking a statistic involving the Gunners midfielder nearly made him “burst into tears”.
Mikel Arteta’s charges have failed to win their last three Premier League matches, only scoring one goal.
In addition, Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has not netted a goal from open play since the opening weekend of the season.
Wright isn’t happy with the lack of forward-thinking from the midfield, believing a lack of confidence, hesitancy and nerves are affecting the players concerned.
“It needs to go to the Plan B, and what is Plan B at the minute? That’s what needs to happen,” Wright said on the Kelly & Wrighty Show.
“Is Arteta going to go with some of the youngsters, [Mohamed] Elneny’s maybe playing, is he going to stick with Willian? I don’t think that’s working out at the moment, too negative.
“I think Xhaka at the moment has kind of reverted to type, it’s very negative, this is why we’re getting this stat of 58 passes per shot. We’re passing [too much].
“You’ve got midfielders who are not willing to take the chance of putting it in there, and they want to get these stats where they’re passing it sideways and they’ve got 99% pass accuracy, passing it five yards to the side.
“If you’re not taking chances, you’re not going to create anything. I think one of the stats the other day was the most interaction between two Arsenal players was Xhaka back to Gabriel – it nearly made me burst into tears!”
It remains to be seen whether Xhaka will feature against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, given how little he has contributed in terms of forward-thinking over the past few games.
If Thomas Partey is involved, that would be a huge boost for Arteta, but if he’s still sidelined, a player like Joe Willock would surely be a better shout than the £100,000-a-week man.