Wenger heaps praise on much-maligned 24-year-old Arsenal star
By Matt Bullin
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has heaped praise on beleaguered Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka after the Gunners 3-0 win over West Ham.
Xhaka played 90 minutes as the Gunners thrashed the Hammers on Wednesday night.
The win came courtesy of goals from Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud who all struck in the second half to give their side all three points.
Arsenal’s victory leaves them fifth in the table, level on points with Manchester United, but above them due to a superior goal difference.
Wenger’s side are four points behind Manchester City in fourth, though they do have a game in hand.
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Since his £30million move from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer Xhaka has struggled to put in the performances desired by Wenger and Arsenal’s fan base, and has been regularly criticised.
In a clip on Arsenal’s official Twitter account Wenger was quoted saying: “The speed of our passing in the heart of the game, it is not only the quality of our passing but the speed of our passing, is needed the way we want to play.
“We have quick strikers so it’s important we feed them quickly and the speed of [Xhaka’s] decision-making is very important.”
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) April 7, 2017
The 24-year-old midfielder has made 35 league and cup appearances for Arsenal this season and has scored three goals and laid on three assists – although he has also picked up two red cards and nine yellows.
Next up for Wenger’s team is a trip to Crystal Palace on Monday night, where Wenger will hope Xhaka shows the same kind of form he did against West Ham.
In other Arsenal news, Martin Keown has given his verdict on Arsenal and Man United’s top four chances.