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'Looks a different player': Sky pundit says heavily-criticised Arsenal man has changed

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Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith wrote on his column on Sky Sports about the change he has seen in Granit Xhaka over the last few weeks.

The Swiss international is arguably the most criticised player at Arsenal at the moment. His outburst against Crystal Palace in 2019 made him enemy number one at the Emirates, but he did well to make his way back last season.

However, the good things he did to help us win the FA Cup last term were again overshadowed by a moment of madness against Burnley this season. Xhaka got himself a silly red card and that cost us the game.

It again seemed like there was no way back for the former Monchengladbach man, but once again, he has proved many people wrong with a string of brilliant performances.

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Alan Smith has been impressed by how Xhaka has come back from his red card a few weeks ago. He claims that the midfielder looks like a different player now, and he isn’t wrong.

Smith: Xhaka looks a completely different player

He wrote: “Against Palace, it wasn’t a perfect performance from Granit Xhaka. But, he was switched on and engaged right through the match. He came to his defence’s rescue on a number of occasions during the match, never giving up on a situation and getting himself back where he was needed to save the day.”

“For me, he does look a different player at the moment. I know a lot of Arsenal fans can’t understand why Arteta sticks with him after some of the things he’s done, but behind the scenes he’s a very good presence in the dressing room.”

“But then, when he does something stupid, gets himself sent off, commits a silly foul on the edge of the box, you are thinking, wow, what is he thinking?”

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“Hopefully he can iron those things out, but at his age and his experience, you think he’s not going to change now. But definitely, he’s having a better time of things at the moment. He’s played his part in Arsenal’s mini revival.”

Xhaka only has a few months to prove himself

At the moment, Mikel Arteta will not drop Xhaka. The Swiss international is doing a fine job and there is no reason for a change. Thomas Partey will come in tonight, and if the duo can form a good partnership, that will be the way forward.

If it doesn’t quite work out in the coming months, Xhaka could go out of the door. Arsenal have been heavily linked with a £25 million move for Brighton star Yves Bissouma. (But Football Club)

The Mali international is viewed by many as the perfect partner for Partey. Arsenal might not make a move for him this month, but things could change in the summer – especially if Xhaka fails to perform consistently until the end of this season.

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