Granit Xhaka emotional after surprise moment in Arsenal win; tips forward to be among world’s best

Seb Sternik
Granit Xhaka of Arsenal celebrates after scoring the third goal during the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Leicester City in London

Three years on from being booed by his own fans, Granit Xhaka was left emotional after Arsenal fans sung his name following Saturday’s North London derby. 

The Gunners powered to a 3-1 victory over Spurs to strengthen their position at the top of the Premier League table.

Thomas Partey scored the opener before Harry Kane equalised from the penalty spot.

In the second-half, it was the hosts who regained their lead through Gabriel Jesus. Xhaka made sure of the win with a goal of his own in the 67th minute.

The Switzerland international not only stamped his name on the scoresheet but also put in a man of the match performance.

The display rubberstamped a remarkable turnaround for Xhaka who has gone from being stripped of the club captaincy in 2019 to one of Mikel Arteta’s most important players.

Arsenal fans recognised his efforts and even sang his name after the full-time whistle.

Xhaka has endured a strained relationship with the Arsenal faithful since his on-field strop back in 2019. He famously threw his shirt to the ground while being booed by the home fans.

However, a string of impressive outings under Arteta have swung public opinion back in his favour.

Xhaka tips team-mate to become ‘one of the best’

The 30-year-old gave an emotional interview after the game, telling BBC Sport: “After seven years at the club and after what happened three years ago I never thought I would speak about this [having a song sung about him by the home fans].

“It makes me very proud. As long as I’m here I’ll give everything for this football club. It makes me proud because it was hard work to get here..

“Thomas [Partey] and me have a great relationship. He is a lovely guy with a lot of quality and you can see that week by week. I am so happy to have him close to me and you can see results on the pitch.”

Xhaka also hailed Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli for another unstoppable performance down the left wing.

It was his vibrant display that seemingly lured the frustrated Emerson Royal into getting himself red-carded with a reckless ankle-high challenge.

In Xhaka’s eyes, Martinelli has all the tools to be one of the world’s best.

The midfielder added: “Gabriel Martinelli has a lot to be one of the best.

“He goes 100mph. He has to push himself with how far he can go. He has the team and everything around the help him.

“When Mikel [Arteta] came three years ago he said he needed time and you can see the results. We have a big squad with a lot of potential and we are showing it on the pitch.

“We have a different type of spirit and mentality in the team and you can see that.”

READ MORE: William Saliba transfer had helping hand from Arsenal great, as Rio Ferdinand explains what makes him top tier