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Football

"I find Granit Xhaka confrontational, overly aggressive and altogether irritating"

Daniel Marland

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"I find Granit Xhaka confrontational, overly aggressive and altogether irritating"

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has been reborn this season, but BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks still isn't a fan.

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The 29-year-old captained the Gunners to a 3-0 victory over Brentford on Sunday afternoon and it's completed a remarkable turnaround.

Back in 2019, Xhaka was booed off the pitch during a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace and threw his shirt to the ground in anger.

He was stripped of the captaincy and looked set to leave, until manager Mikel Arteta convinced the Switzerland international to stick around.

Xhaka has gone on to become an important part of Arteta's team and now plays a box to box role, rather than as a holding midfielder.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

He's still got his doubters though. Crooks called Xhaka's performance at the Gtech Community Stadium 'very impressive' before admitting he flat out doesn't like him.

Crooks wrote in his Team of the Week column: "I don’t like Granit Xhaka. 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.

Image Credit: Alamy
Image Credit: Alamy

"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."

Xhaka whipped in a lovely cross for Gabriel Jesus' header after William Saliba put the away side ahead inside 17 minutes.

Fabio Vieira, making his first Premier League start after an injury to Martin Odegaard, fired home a third just after the break.

In a message posted to Instagram, 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."

Arsenal go into the international break top of the league, one point clear of champions Manchester City and bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

SPORTbible Stories is the brand-new podcast from the SPORT team at LADbible. The first episode features a chat with former Burnley manager Sean Dyche as he opens up on his departure from Turf Moor, what the future holds and the amazing story of the spin wheel for fines while in charge of the Clarets. You can watch the first episode here.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Arsenal, Granit Xhaka, Premier League

Daniel Marland
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