'He deserves that' - Arteta explains 'unlocked' Xhaka's change of fortunes at Arsenal
- Scored a stunning half-volley against PSV
- Has been in stellar form this season
- Has improved relationship with fans
WHAT HAPPENED? The Swiss international rifled in a sensational volley with 20 minutes remaining to fire Arsenal over the line against PSV in the Europa League on Thursday. He has been putting in impressive shifts for the Gunners in the campaign and it was his third goal of the season, while he has also provided three assists. Arteta was visibly pleased with Xhaka's performance and stated that the midfielder's love for the club is unquestionable.
WHAT THEY SAID: "I think he has faced adversity, and in difficult moments he has put his arm up when he had something different to do. His worth ethic, the way he is as a person, the way he treats everybody around the club, and the love for this football club and the profession is unquestionable, and I think he fully deserves that. I'm really happy to see him enjoying his career," he said to reporters.
"Sometimes it’s just unlocking something in the player’s mind and be more open and be receptive to all the things. He’s been extremely open and his work rate all the time to learn is fantastic, and now I think it’s paying off," he added.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The midfielder has had a bittersweet time at Arsenal and it reached its lowest ebb in October 2019 when he was booed off by his own fans against Crystal Palace and he was seen to cup his ear in response to abuse from sections of the fanbase. Although he later apologised, he was subsequently stripped of the captaincy by Unai Emery, the then coach of Arsenal, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang replacing him. This season he has enjoyed a spike in form and has been an instrumental cog in Arteta's system. The fans have reacted positively and have been showering him with love from the terraces.
IN TWO PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT FOR XHAKA? Arsenal are set to take on Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday and Xhaka will be hoping to continue with his rich vein of form against the Saints.