Danny Welbeck received a 5.5 for his performance against Switzerland on Tuesday night as Granit Xhaka was hailed by Arsenal fans after an impressive performance.
The Daily Mail gave Welbeck a 5.5, the lowest rating given out (only Tottenham’s Eric Dier received a similar low mark) for what was his first England start in 900 days.
The Telegraph, meanwhile, gave him a 5, a lower rating than all the subs:
However, if you look at the whoscored.com ratings, eight players performed worse on the night (James Tarkowski, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ben Chilwell, John Stones, Jess Lingard, Kieran Trippier, Harry Kane, and Jordan Henderson. Although the last three were subs, the Mail and Telegraph still gave them a higher rating than Welbz).
Xhaka, who often comes in for heavy criticism from pundits and a section of the Arsenal fanbase, enjoyed a far better evening. Although the Mail didn’t rate any Swiss players, he finished the game with a 93.9% pass completion rate.
Speaking after the match, Arsenal’s Alex Scott, who was on pundit duty with Sky Sports, said, “When you look at the Switzerland midfield, I know the jury’s always been out with Granit Xhaka and opinions on him, he’s got so much time on the ball.
“He’s picking passes out and it looked like he was a world beater out there. We’re not putting pressure on them and closing them down.”
Arsenal fans, meanwhile, were quick to praise the midfielder on Twitter:
People from this country mock xhaka but ain’t no CM in this England team even close to his ability on the ball.
— King_J👑 (@JayLDN213) September 11, 2018
For all the stick xhaka gets he’s running the show here joy to watch
— Sam Morsy (@sammorsy08) September 11, 2018
We have fans that don’t rate Granit Xhaka… just let that shit sink in
— The Atlanta Arsenal (@AtlantaArsenal) September 12, 2018
Wow, shocker. Who woulda thought. pic.twitter.com/svINVxgimy
— – (@RegistaXhaka) September 11, 2018
Not a bad display from Granit Xhaka against England tonight. 111 touches, 98 passes (the most in the game out of both sides) With a total of 94% pass accuracy. Also provided 3 key passes and made 3 interceptions. Classy display, one for the haters. 🤫 pic.twitter.com/V0r1yB1xIM
— Ä (@MyGuyMesut) September 11, 2018
Others, however, were keen to remind people why Xhaka has been getting so much grief this season:
This is ridiculous! Why do ppl think football is played on a piece of paper! There isn’t a an attacking midfielder in the world Prem that looks at Xhaka and thinks “ooo his going to be problem to get past today”
— Binz (@TopBinz49) September 12, 2018
Argue with the stats man. Xhaka fanboy. pic.twitter.com/Drg00NOVzV
— Arome (@ulokoemmanuel70) September 12, 2018
But, as we know with stats, it’s all about which ones you look at:
Xhaka vs Fernandinho vs Matic in the Premier League since the start of the 17/18 season.
Great stats for Xhaka! #afc
— Urban Arsenal (@ArsenalUrban) September 11, 2018
Speaking after the game, Xhaka said he didn’t believe Switzerland were the worst side at the King Power Stadium. “We were not the worse team,” Xhaka said.
“If we had used one of our chances in the first half, it would have been another game.
“You do not get 20 shots on goal against such an opponent. That’s why you have to meet once. England then scores two chances, that’s the difference.”
In other international news, Stephan Lichtsteiner played the full 90 against England, picking up a booking for bundling over Danny Rose.
Sokratis played 90 minutes as Greece lost 2-1 to old-world powerhouse, Hungary.
The only other Arsenal player in action was Takuma Asano who grabbed an assist for Japan’s third in their 3-0 win over ex-Gunner Joel Campbell’s Costa Rica.
Campbell, however, was not even named on the bench for the game.