Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has said that midfielder Granit Xhaka remains a ‘very important’ player in the first-team squad despite his tendency to make the odd mistake on the field of play.
The Switzerland international has been regularly handed with the captain’s armband this season but his performances have been a mixed bag with occasions, where he has looked nervous.
In the recent north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, he conceded a reckless penalty, which contributed towards criticism from his own fans, but Emery has spoken in support of the 26-year-old.
Speaking ahead of the Watford clash, Emery stressed that Xhaka remains a very important player in the squad and he provides the balance in the centre of the park.
He added that every player has the tendency to make mistakes and he prefers to look at the positives from the midfielder’s performances this campaign.
“He gives us very good balance in the middle with the ball and without the ball. “He’s very important for us. We can talk about the defects of any player, for him too, but we can speak about the very positive performances he gives us in most matches,” he told in a press conference as quoted by The Sun.
There have been some calls for the midfielder to be dropped from the starting XI for the forthcoming games, but that appears unlikely to happen with Emery continuing to show faith in the former Basel graduate.
Arsenal are scheduled to face Watford away from home this evening and Xhaka will most likely partner Matteo Guendouzi at the heart of the midfield following the latter’s sublime showing against Spurs.
Guendouzi has shown splendid progress over the past 14 months and his gamechanging performance in the recent derby was rewarded with a maiden call-up with France during the international break.