Arsenal legend, Ray Parlour, reckons that Granit Xhaka needs to take a leaf out of Gilberto Silva’s book when it comes to reading the game.
While Parlour admits Xhaka has been hit or miss since signing from Borussia Mönchengladbach last year and needs to work on his reading of the game, the Arsenal legend was impressed with some of the 25-year-old’s performances at the end of last season.
“I saw signs last season at the end that he was really coming into his game and getting used to the Premier League,” Parlour told AskFans.
“It’s tough for midfielders, central midfield is a really tough position.
“I was lucky to play there myself and it’s a real demanding role for you, but you’ve got to have good central midfielders in there.
“At times he has been a little hit and miss this season, I think at times he’s played really well.
“Sometimes he’s got to be a bit more efficient with the ball, pass it a little bit quicker, and read situations. We’ve seen certain situations at Arsenal where he just doesn’t read it well.
“We probably had the best player at reading situations when I played, Gilberto Silva.
“He wasn’t one of those players who you would notice a lot in a game but he was always in the right position at the right times.
“I think Xhaka, if he could go away and learn a little bit off Gilberto Silva, his positioning and certain incidents in games, then I think he will be a much better player.”
Gilberto was one of the best defensive midfielders to ever wear red and white.
The Brazilian moved to north London in 2002 and made 170 league appearances in six years.
Xhaka has a long, long way to go if he’s ever hoping to become like Gilberto. This season, his performances have been up and down. Well, mostly down. They’ve ranged from his Man of the Match-winning display against Chelsea in the Community Shield in August to his sloppy showing versus Manchester City last weekend.
The midfielder has started every one of Arsenal’s Premier League matches and is currently a first team regular but improvements are needed.
When Xhaka’s playing well, his long balls are brilliant and he’s at the heart of almost every move. However, when he’s not, he’s slow and wasteful.
As Parlour says, if the Switzerland international studies how Gilberto used to play, he could learn a thing or two and potentially improve.