Since Arsenal completed the signing of Granit Xhaka, many fans have wondered who he’ll replace in the lineup and how the Gunners midfield will shape up with him in the team.
Arsenal fans have managed to have a close look at Xhaka’s style of play at Euro 2016, where he has impressed in all three games so far for Switzerland, helping them reach the round of 16.
The Swiss midfielder has demonstrated a blend of physicality, technical ability, aggression and composure in the three games for Switzerland, whilst impressing with his passing at all times (perhaps not with penalties).
Xhaka has been widely criticised for his disciplinary record but against France he could’ve easily jumped into tackles and picked up a yellow card that would’ve seen him banned for the next game. Xhaka was mature and played with defensive intelligence to avoid picking up a booking, using his awareness to always be positioned in the right place.
It is this awareness of space that enables him to dictate games from deep. Xhaka combines the defensive tenacity of Francis Coquelin and the technical ability to dictate of Santi Cazorla. Arsenal have wanted to play Aaron Ramsey or Jack Wilshere in central roles with more freedom but there has not been space as the Gunners never had a player that could control the game from deep and have good physical attributes.
Whilst Xhaka has played in the deepest midfield role for Switzerland, he is capable of playing further forward as he has shown for Monchengladbach. It is likely that for Arsenal he will play a similar role as he does for his country. Playing Xhaka in the deepest role allows for Arsenal to give attacking freedom to his midfield partner, whether that be Mohammed Elneny, Jack Wilshere, Cazorla or Aaron Ramsey. All of those four players can make a difference in the final third and have Xhaka alongside them will free up their creative instincts.