After Granit Xhaka was unveiled today by Arsenal after the picture of him wearing an Arsenal kit went viral online on Sunday, a review of his playing position in Arsene Wenger’s team is necessary.
Xhaka cost Arsenal an excess of £30 million and is assumed to be a first eleven player and maybe the one to replace Francis Coquelin in the middle of the park. This will see Xhaka partner with Spaniard Santi Cazorla as the two deep lying central midfielders in Wenger’s favourite 4-2-3-1 formation . With this formation Aaron Ramsey will find himself on the left wing with Alexis Sanchez on the right while Mesut Ozil will play slightly behind top striker Oliver Giroud.
Also another formation might see the Swiss captain play alone in the defensive midfield role, with Santi Cazorla sitting on the bench as the Swiss international is better when it comes to physical duels, tackling and ball distribution from the back.
In another formation, Xhaka might play in a three man midfield (4-3-3) with the likes of Wishere, Ramsey, Coquelin, El’Neny and Cazorla all vying for a place in the midfield while Sanchez, Giroud and Ozil play in the three man attack. While this formation might favour Arsenal to regain possession and to quickly counter attack opposing teams, it might isolate star player Mesut Ozil whose weakest link is playing in the wings. This is might be the sole reason Wenger has persisted with the 4-2-3-1 formation as it allows Ozil to play in his preferred position which is slightly behind the striker.
Also Xhaka might be paired with Jack Wilshere who has recently recovered from injury. The problem with the pairing though is the fact that Xhaka and Wilshere are too similar and not as attacking as the Cazorla/Xhaka combination.
While the first eleven of Arsenal might be standard the problem is that the likes of Alex Iwobi, Theo Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlain might not be good enough to replace any player in the first eleven when injured or suspended.
Iwobi has impressed when given the chance but is still young and might fumble in big games. Walcott on his part has been a disappointment last season and is rumoured to available for a summer exit.
Whatever happens, Xhaka seems to be a decent player for Arsenal and one who has come to restore the glory days in the North London club.