Mikel Arteta has raved about Arsenal star Granit Xhaka for his performances since being sent off against Burnley in December, during his pre-match press conference.
The midfielder came under-fire for his dismissal with the Gunners going onto lose 1-0 to the Clarets at the Emirates Stadium.
He served a three-match suspension for his act of violent conduct and some supporters questioned whether he’d win his place back.
Since his return, however, Arteta has started him in four consecutive league games, with Arsenal winning three and drawing one.
It would seem the boss still fancies Xhaka as an important player and admitted ahead of tonight he’s been impressed with the 28-year-old.
He told Football London: “After the red card with the history he had he was in a difficult place.
“We had to try to bring him back where we believed he can be and should be, which is being one of the leaders in the team.
“I think since he’s been back he’s been phenomenal, he’s playing really, really well. He’s still a player who can evolve and it’s great for us to have him back.”
TBR View: What does the future hold for Xhaka?
Right now it seems as though the Switzerland captain is very much a player fancied by Arteta.
It will be interesting to see whether he still plays quite so much once Thomas Partey is completely over his fitness woes.
Xhaka has played 195 times for the Gunners since checking in from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016.
He has struggled to convince some Arsenal supporters but it’s difficult to say that his form hasn’t been pretty good this season.
The £100,000-a-week maestro has had peaks and troughs since arriving and has earned many second chances.
He will hope to kick on after his latest reprieve and showcase to Arteta that he can remain a pivotal player.