Whenever Granit Xhaka gets the ball anywhere close to the box, he is greeted by thousands of Arsenal fans imploring him to shoot which he happily indulges, but should he?
Granit Xhaka has a reputation of being good from outside the box, but it struck me, as he fired well wide once again against Leicester on Monday night, that he’s not actually all that good from distance.
In fact, it seemed to me like he’s only good from outside the box once or twice a year. I’m good at going to the gym once or twice a year, but nobody is claiming I’m good at going to the gym.
So what is the truth?
Is it the narrative around him or how I feel about the whole thing?
Let’s wheel out some stats to see if we can work it out.
Granit Xhaka has scored eight goals for Arsenal.
With Borussia Monchengladbach, he scored nine while with FC Basel he scored three.
With these stats alone, it’s safe to say he’s not prolific, returning just 20 goals from 317 appearances for all three clubs. That’s just shy of one every 16 games.
Of those 20 goals, three were from free-kicks outside the box.
Three headers and one penalty take four from his tally of possible long-range goals, leaving us just another 11 to play with that are listed as ‘left-footed shot’ or ‘right-footed shot’ as another two are helpfully labelled as ‘long distance kick’
This video helped.
This season, Xhaka has one goal – his free-kick against Newcastle – but he’s taken nine shots in total (three against Leicester).
Granit Xhaka took 96 shots to score his first three Premier League goals for Arsenal. His shot accuracy at the Gunners has dropped from 48% in his final season with Borussia Monchengladbach to around 35% with Arsenal.
Last season, Xheridan Shaqiri (Stoke), Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) and Kevin de Bryune (City) were the best from outside the box, netting six, four and six goals from that distance respectively.
Shaqiri’s shot accuracy was 62%, while Coutinho and de Bruyne came in at 56%. In fact, Shaqiri took 10 shots fewer from outside the box, yet scored five times as many goals compared to his compatriot.
As I suspected when I started to look into these figures, Granit Xhaka is good from outside the box, but only occasionally.
He seems slightly better than average but he’s far from the top marksman in the league and I still have to say it’s a bit of a stretch to say he’s good from range consistently.