Arsenal fans are still divided on Granit Xhaka, but for the enlightened mass, you really can’t ever say enough about how great this guy is.
Arsenal winning a match 4-0 is one thing. It’s another thing to finally blow out another team when you’ve struggled so mightily to be convincing. It’s still yet another thing entirely when Granit Xhaka scores his first goal of the season and prompts another symposium of praise from Mikel Arteta.
That’s the kind of stuff I live for.
After the match, Arteta spoke out on behalf of Xhaka in a big way. Yet again. Ever since he convinced Xhaka to stay when an exit seemed inevitable, Xhaka has flipped the script and Arteta has been there to praise him every step of the way. All the while the haters keep hating, but there’s just no pleasing them.
I’ll admit, against Norwich, Xhaka was hit and miss. The goal was a brilliant stroke that saved him from what would have been some pretty heavy criticism.
After all, he lost the ball seven times. His worst tally of the year. And likely going back longer than that. It was his least secure match with the ball in quite some time.
But he scored a goal. He had fun. He passed the ball well. And Mikel Arteta was there to heap the praises on him yet again.
My favorite quote from Arteta’s spiel was that Xhaka is a great role model, and he looks after himself and lives his profession. You can’t say that about everyone. But it’s backed up by the complete lack of any off-the-pitch issues you see from Xhaka. He is never getting in trouble. He is never stirring up nonsense. Everything he does or doesn’t do is related to what’s happening on the pitch.
Because, in case you didn’t hear Arteta, this man lives his profession. Football is everything. That’s the kind of mentality that can keep the engine room of a club churning and pumping out results.
Which is what Xhaka is doing. Ever since he was convinced to stay, he has been tremendous. He’s been exactly what we’ve needed him to be.
One thing I will say is that I have always been proud to have Xhaka on the team. I wish more people felt that way, but hey, Xhaka has me, and he has Mikel Arteta. We know that for sure. Not a bad place to start.