Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has waxed lyrical about Gunners duo David Luiz and Granit Xhaka, two players who have endured their fair share of difficulties at the Emirates Stadium but have been impressive in recent weeks.
Xhaka’s time at Arsenal looked like it was up last autumn, in wake of his reaction to being booed off against Crystal Palace in October and the January transfer window looming.
Meanwhile, Luiz’s horror show against Manchester City in the league a month ago, combined with his contract looking set to end this summer, meant his Gunners tenure was also uncertain.
However, both have since improved massively in the months that followed and are now two of the first names on Arteta’s team sheet, Xhaka in central midfield and Luiz – who has penned a new deal – in the centre of the three-man defence.
“They are two players that are worth spending time with and giving confidence, because I know how professional they are, how much they want to be successful at this football club and how much they care,” Arteta told the Arsenal website.
“Sometimes when they react or they have difficulties, they really suffer and when that happens, they deserve support and back up. They are showing from their performances that they deserve to be here and you can see how they fight for the club.”
Xhaka and Luiz have both copped plenty of flak from sections of the Arsenal fanbase over the course of the season, but credit to the players as well as Arteta, they’ve more than justified wearing the red and white shirt in recent weeks.
Arteta has shown he’s not afraid to ruffle feathers and cause controversy with his team selections, but so far, pretty much everything he’s touched has turned to gold, and for him to praise his two players as he has is testament to their quality and professionalism.