Premier League • England

Former Tottenham striker declares ‘I don’t like Granit Xhaka’, who ‘should have left Arsenal years ago’

Fabio Vieira, Granit Xhaka, William Saliba, September 2022

Former Tottenham striker Garth Crooks admits he dislikes Granit Xhaka and feels ‘he should have left Arsenal years ago’.

The Switzerland midfielder thanked Gunners fans for a ‘very special day’ after he captained Arsenal to a hugely impressive 3-0 win against Brentford on Sunday that returned them to the top of the table.

The away fans serenaded Xhaka throughout and after the game, chanting his name.

In a message to Arsenal fans after the win in west London, Xhaka said: “Hey guys, Granit here. Great win, great result, thanks for your support.

“You’ve been amazing but as well for myself to hear what happened today, to say my name, to sing the song for me.

“It’s a very, very special day and thank you again, see you soon. All the best guys.”

That is a far cry from three years ago when Xhaka threw his shirt on the ground after getting jeered off by his own supporters in a home game against Crystal Palace.

Xhaka was subsequently stripped of the captaincy, and his Arsenal career looked over. That is until Mikel Arteta arrived and convinced the 29-year-old to stay put.

The combative midfielder did cause further controversy at the end of last season after having a dig at the club’s younger players after Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League.

However, he’s been a revelation so far this season, guiding the Gunners to six wins in seven league outings.

Crooks clearly not a Xhaka fan

But despite his fine form and the fact he’s turned things around in north London, Crooks is still not a fan.

“I don’t like Granit Xhaka,” Crooks told the BBC. “I find him confrontational, overly aggressive and altogether irritating.

“Nevertheless, on his day he’s a very good player. He should have left Arsenal years ago.

“However, for some reason he has not only stayed at the club, but also occasionally wears the captain’s armband. Such is his popularity these days.

“Against Brentford he looked very impressive and so did Arsenal.

“I would like to know why Brentford didn’t look up for this game. But the Gunners were so good I rather suspect that even if they had it wouldn’t have changed anything – Arsenal were that good. Most worrying.”

Arsenal are currently top of the table, a point ahead of both Manchester City and Tottenham.

And a mouthwatering north London derby awaits after the international break, with the Gunners hosting Spurs at The Emirates.

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