Carragher: This Arsenal ace has been my man of the week and must start v Chelsea
By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Jamie Carragher has urged Arsene Wenger to select Granit Xhaka in midfield when Arsenal take on Chelsea on Saturday evening.
Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla have started in central midfield in the Gunners’ last three Premier League and Champions League matches and appear almost certain to line up at Emirates Stadium against Antonio Conte’s team.
But Sky Sports pundit Carragher believes that £34million summer signing Xhaka “is the future” for the Gunners and must be given the chance to nail down a regular starting place.
The Switzerland international has scored two long-range goals in Arsenal’s last two matches, including a stunning effort in the midweek League Cup win against Nottingham Forest.
“Wenger has been intent on easing him into his team,” Carragher wrote in his Mail Online column, as he hailed Xhaka as his ‘man of the week’. “Only last week, he sang the praises of how good Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin have been in midfield.
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“That might be so but that axis has not been good enough to take Arsenal to where they want to go so why persist with it?
“Xhaka is surely the future and if he has the talent that Wenger says he has, you would expect him to be at home in this type of battle.
“After taking one point from their opening two fixtures, Arsenal have re-gathered some momentum and they could really push on with a victory against their bitter rivals.
“It will be interesting to see if Wenger is prepared to give Xhaka the responsibility of driving his team forward.”
Xhaka, 23 has made six appearances in all competitions for the north London club since his transfer from German outfit Borussia Monchengladbach but has only started two of the team’s six Premier League and Champions League fixtures.
Arsenal and Chelsea are level on points in the Premier League, with ten points each from their opening five games, as Wenger’s side edge their rivals on goal difference.
In other Arsenal team news, Paul Merson has urged his former club to axe this midfield kingpin when they take on Chelsea at the weekend.