Granit Xhaka gives telling verdict on Arsenal title push; can’t wait for ‘important’ Gabriel Jesus to return
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has insisted that no one will care about the Gunners’ performances if they go on to lift a Premier League title this season.
Mikel Arteta’s side recovered to secure a 2-2 draw with Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League on Thursday but didn’t play as well as they have done in recent weeks.
However, despite a slight dip in form, they have continued to pick up important results, which is something that all successful teams must do.
Indeed, prior to their draw with Sporting, Arsenal found themselves 2-0 down to strugglers Bournemouth after a poor first half, before fighting back to win 3-2 and gain a vital three points.
However, Xhaka does not agree that the Gunners’ performances have dipped. As noted by the Daily Mail, he said: “I have a different opinion – you see the last games, the results, we won them.
“We have to respect all the opponents, even if Bournemouth is not top in the table. We know how difficult it is to play against them.
“Even in the Premier League you play against first or last, it’s the same. It’s difficult. But as long as you get the result, nobody will ask you at the end of May.”
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Xhaka suggests Jesus return could be vital
In their 2-2 draw with Sporting, Arsenal led through an early William Saliba goal but only rescued a point through an own goal from Hidemasa Morita in the 62nd minute.
Arteta’s team once again conceded through a set piece, and Xhaka said: “It’s too simple. One a set-piece, the other one we don’t take the runner.”
“But everything starts at the front, if nobody or not all of us are ready on this level, you get punched.”
Admittedly, Arsenal were missing a few key players on Thursday with Kieran Tierney and Martin Odegaard both sidelined with illness and Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard currently injured.
With that in mind, Xhaka is also looking forward to the return of Gabriel Jesus, who has been unavailable for selection since picking up a knee injury during the World Cup break.
“Because we lost Eddie as well, it’s much more important to have Gabi back. Leo as well is injured and he can play in this position,” he said.
“Step by step, I hope that Gabi will be 100 per cent fit to help this team because we know that he can help us. With his attitude, with his personality, he is very, very important for us.”
The Switzerland international added that Arsenal have the squad depth to compete both in the league and in Europe.
He added: “There is much more pressure than before, for sure, but in general, I think we are doing well.’I think there is a good mentality in the team and let’s try to keep that.”
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