Arsenal have started their season on the back-foot with just 4 points from their opening 3 matches. However, one of the biggest positives of their season came against Watford where the Gunners recorded a 3-1 win over Watford and witnessed a masterclass performance from their new summer signing Granit Xhaka.
The Swiss international was bought for £30million from Borussia Monchengladbach which saw an end to the long-running question mark over Arsene Wenger not spending on a quality midfield player.
Ever since Patrick Vieira’s exit, Gunner fans have been desperate for a player who could control their midfield and act as the shield to his defenders as well as be the first point of attack going forward.
It may have been Xhaka’s first match in Premier League but the 23-year-old showed all the signs of already becoming a bargain buy from Arsene Wenger.
Xhaka completed 62 of his 71 attempted passes, he created 2 chances, managed 5 ball recoveries, won 4 successful tackles, completed 2 interceptions and won 2 aerial duels against Watford.
More than the numbers, it was Xhaka’s impact on Arsenal’s game play which was the most significant factor. Xhaka showed great awareness in his tackles, always looked for the incisive pass, and handled the transition between attack and defense extremely well.
Another factor about Xhaka’s brilliance was his link-up play with Santi Cazorla. The duo reciprocated each other’s playing style in the best way possible with one dropping deep and the other pushing on to join the attack.
It may be a bit too early to judge whether the Swiss skipper is actually the player that Arsenal have been crying out loud for all those years, or his display against Watford was just a ‘flash in the pan’?
We saw last season how Pedro got off to a brilliant start for Chelsea after his big money move from Barcelona, however, since then the results have been less than pleasant for both Chelsea and Pedro Rodriguez.
Xhaka may not drift as low as Pedro but Arsenal fans would hope for more consistency from their expensive summer signing. At this point, I am keeping my opinion to myself on whether Xhaka will be a success or flop in Premier League but early signs are that Wenger may have done one of the best pieces of transfer business this summer by signing Granit Xhaka.