According to an article on Goal, Granit Xhaka is finally starting to look like the player that Arsenal signed for £30m last summer.
Heavily criticised for his discipline across all competitions, coupled with the suggestion that he wasn’t doing enough to justify the hefty fee paid almost twelve months ago, it’s been a tough season for Xhaka. But one that he has embraced.
Since playing alongside Elneny (occasionally) and Aaron Ramsey as part of a midfield pairing, he has looked more impressive than being shackled next to Francis Coquelin.
A deep-lying playmaker as opposed to the box-to-box midfielder he was described as by Wenger at the start of the campaign, Ramsey’s attack-minded positioning has given him more freedom to play defence-splitting passes from a deep role whilst maintaining his responsibility to protect the backline out of possession.
Described as an orchestrator rather than a rampaging midfielder, he is keen to keep things ticking over and help create chances as a result.
During the 2-0 win over Southampton in midweek, Xhaka and Ramsey’s statistics justified their ever-increasing presence as Arsenal’s midfield duo. A combined 154 touches, 89.5% accuracy and 14 ball recoveries – the most passes, most distance covered and most touches across the pitch at St Mary’s.
Wenger’s change to a 3-4-1-2 formation provides Ramsey ample opportunity to roam forward without constantly worrying about his defensive responsibilities and Santi Cazorla’s long-term absence has allowed the pair important time together to improve and develop a better understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses.