Arteta: This is what I told Xhaka before he crashed a free-kick
Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka, right (34), watches as his free kick goes over the wall scoring his sides 2nd goal of the game during their English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Chelsea at the Emirates stadium in London, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. ( AP)

Granit Xhaka would have gone into Arsenal’s clash with Chelsea on Saturday with the words of Mikel Arteta ringing in his ears.

The Swiss international returned to the Gunners team for the first time since serving a three-match suspension for his red card in the 1-0 defeat at home to Burnley earlier this month.

Xhaka, perhaps against the wishes of some Arsenal fans, went straight back into the Gunners side for the clash against the Blues, and scored a stunning free-kick to make it 2-0 as the hosts dominated.

Arteta: This is what I told Xhaka before he crashed a free-kick
December 26, 2020 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta with Granit Xhaka after the match. [ REUTERS]

Mikel Arteta had spoken about Xhaka’s discipline after the Burnley red card and, while some were hanging him out to try, he stressed the “maximum” commitment that the midfielder always shows the club.

“He has [had a few rocky moments] and he’s not the only one,” he said. “There’s a lot of players who have had rocky moments.

“What I can say about Granit is that his professionalism and his commitment with the club and with his team-mates is maximum.

“He knows and we know that he had a moment where he lost it and I know the reason why, but what I cannot do is just throw everything that he has done away just because he made a mistake.

“We have all made mistakes and I am here as well to protect the players when I see that they deserve that and for sure, Granit is one of them for the way he approaches every training session and the way he wants to do things in the right way all the time and the professional that he is.”


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