Granit Xhaka lined up alongside former Arsenal man Johan Djourou (Senderos was not included) as they defeated his brother’s Albania in the second game of this year’s Euros.
Switzerland took an early lead with less than five minutes on the clock as Fabian Schar rose highest to meet a corner that the Albania keeper came for but missed totally.
While the Swiss looked the more composed during the first half, Albania were offering more of a threat than many of us expected.
Granit’s brother, Taulant was heavily involved in the first half, but at the break they still trailed by a single goal, not helped by their captain, Cana, being sent off for a second yellow for deliberate handball (should have been a straight red as it clearly denied a goal scoring opportunity).
Xhaka almost got Switzerland in for their second early in the second half with a lovely threaded ball but Seferovic could only hit it straight at the Albanian keeper. His next effort, from range, was something we’ll just forget ever happened.
Albania came close to pulling off a shock a few times, and perhaps should have had a penalty for deliberate obstruction, but the Swiss held on, despite failing to take any advantage of their extra man. In fact, I totally forgot Albania only had 10 for half of the match.
This is the first time that Switzerland have won their opening group game.
Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodriguez, who has been linked with Arsenal heavily over recent weeks also started and has a buy out clause of £18.5m as the German club did not qualify for the Champions League, also started. We’re off to dig into this a bit more and will report back on what we can find out as we already know he said he’d like to play with Xhaka at Arsenal.
Watch out: Xhaka player focus coming up later.