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Half-tank Granit Xhaka better than the alternative

Arsenal has some midfield decisions to make, and having Granit Xhaka just return to health is one question they need to answer. It beats the alternative though.

Arsenal‘s midfield can’t seem to figure out how to fit together and form a cohesive unit. And it’s not like Mikel Arteta isn’t trying to make it work. He has given all kinds of combinations a look, utilizing all of his central midfielders except Lucas Torreira, who’s dealing with his own problems.

Against Southampton, Granit Xhaka returned to the mix. Which is kind of incredible, seeing as how he was stretchered off against Manchester City in what looked to be a season-ending injury. One week later, he’s back in the starting XI.

That said, it was pretty clear that he was gassed by the end of the match. There was very little fuel left in the tank. In the first half he was tremendous, but in the second he just looked tuckered out.

With so few other options, and with so little else working, the question Mikel Arteta has to answer is if a half-tank Granit Xhaka is better than the alternative.

Before we answer that, we have to figure out who his partner is. Xhaka is an incredible midfield presence. Don’t deny that. But he needs the right midfield around him in order to be at his absolute best. We had that for all of like, seven minutes against City. And then it all fell apart with his injury.

Between Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos, we’ve seen all of zero chemistry. The former has been quite good on his own, but the latter might as well not even be out there. It’s been a lost cause. But back when he was paired with Xhaka, he was building something pretty special.

Let’s get this out of the way—Ceballos and Guendouzi are not a good combination. A half-tank Xhaka should be chosen in favor of either one of them. He is a chemistry magnet, so let him get in there and start putting the pieces back together.

The only other question is who is more likely to reciprocate. And the answer is Guendouzi. At least the kid has fight.

Next: 5 Things Learned Against Southampton

This goes beyond my Xhaka bias. We can’t deny that this midfield is struggling and Xhaka’s return, and his footballing brain, is the best chance we have of fixing it.

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