Arsenal legend Ian Wright spoke on his podcast today about one of Mikel Arteta’s controversial decisions that handed Villarreal an advantage last week.
The Gunners boss has been using Granit Xhaka at left-back due to Kieran Tierney’s absence. The Swiss international has done fairly well in an unnatural position, but we all know he lacks pace, and Villarreal star Samuel Chukwueze took advantage of that last week.
Wright is disappointed that Arteta has continued to use Xhaka at left-back instead of someone like Cedric Soares who has shown in the past that he is more than capable of performing in what is an unnatural position to him as well.
He said on Wrighty’s House podcast today: “For me, you play Cedric Soares at left-back, you put Xhaka back in that midfield because he can keep that ball and keep it safe and give that pass that we need.
“It does not make me comfortable seeing Xhaka at left-back. You could see with the first goal how easily they went by him. It’s not his thing, that’s not where he should be.
“Cedric Soares was bought and signed for four years to play either right or left. Play him, man! Play Xhaka where he should play (in central midfield).”
The Insider’s View:
A left-footer at left-back gives Arsenal a better balance in transition – that is the only reason why Arteta has preferred Xhaka over Cedric in recent weeks. Thankfully, there is a good chance that this debate will end tomorrow.
Arsenal released pictures yesterday which featured Kieran Tierney back in training. (See here) The Scotsman, as the debate above tells you, has been a huge miss for us over the last few weeks, and it is no coincidence that our results haven’t been great in his absence.
Arteta refused to confirm Tierney’s availability for the game, but there is hope for optimism. If he is fit, he will start and that should allow Xhaka to return to his preferred central midfield position as well, which would be perfect for us.