Martin Keown thinks Granit Xhaka should be worried about his position when Aaron Ramsey returns, thanks to Jack Wilshere’s promising recent form.
Wilshere completed his first 90 minutes of the current league campaign on Wednesday, and followed that up with another on Saturday.
Generally he seemed to play well, and Keown thinks the 25-year-old has already done enough to show he should be first choice when everyone is fit.
The former Arsenal defender told Match of the Day (via Daily Star): “Jack’s free in his mind now because his body isn’t letting him down anymore. He can play and he can express himself. He can be the player that he wants to be.
“That’s nine times now he’s played 90 minutes this season (in all competitions), so there are no question marks about his fitness.
“It’s when Ramsey’s fit again, is Wenger going to stick with him and continue to play him? And for me, Granit Xhaka’s position is really in jeopardy.”
Wilshere has certainly shown he’s fitter than he’s been for a long while at Arsenal, and he seems sharp at this stage.
But in the current team, the England international isn’t playing in Xhaka’s position. If anything, he’s playing in Ramsey’s.
Against Newcastle, even Özil received the ball from the defence considerably more than Wilshere did, and Xhaka was the deepest of the midfielders in terms of his average position:
At the other end, Özil was creating all the chances (eight to Wilshere’s zero).
So the midfielder wasn’t receiving the ball from the defence, and he wasn’t playing the final ball. Instead, he was involved in linking the two together.
Unless that changes in the coming matches, we haven’t yet seen evidence that Arsenal’s academy graduate can play Xhaka’s role just as effectively.