Granit Xhaka's name on the rise again📈
The full-time whistle had just ended and the players were all making their way to the traveling fans at Gtech Community Stadium to celebrate their sixth win in seven Premier League games. And that's when it happened. “We have Granit Xhaka, we have Granit Xhaka. We have Granit Xhaka, we have Granit Xhaka… ” That was the song that rang from the joyful away match when Mikel Arteta's team stood in front of Arsenal fans, waving, clapping their hands and expressing their gratitude for all the support. For Xhaka it was a great moment. "It's a very, very special day for me," he later admitted in an emotional message he sent via Arsenal's Twitter account. “To hear what happened, [for you] sing the song for me. Thank you." After six eventful years at Arsenal, this was the season in which many felt that the Swiss international would finally be eliminated by the starting XI, especially with the change of system introduced by Mikel Arteta which saw Xhaka asked to play in a much more advanced midfield role than usual. Instead, he cemented his place on the team with a series of superb performances. A player previously seen as a calamity waiting to happen now cannot be benched. The road for forgiveness with the fans was not easy. But Xhaka is not a player who will ever avoid a challenge. There have been obstacles along the way, including two red cards last season, but the midfielder is respected now as he never is. Sunday's full-time scenes - which saw Xhaka receive applause from Arsenal fans while wearing the captain's armband. That would have been impossible to capture. Until recently, the midfielder openly admitted that he had "packed his bags" and was ready to return to Germany after the squabble he had with Arsenal fans during a game with Crystal Palace in October 2019. Xhaka was captain at the time and he was stripped of the band by former manager Unai Emery following the incident, which saw Xhaka angrily tell Arsenal fans to "fuck" as they teased him from the pitch as he was replaced. There seemed to be no going back and there wouldn't be if Emery stayed at the club. But Arteta arrived soon after and convinced Xhaka to stay. If the midfielder's time in England has taught us anything, it's that you can never, ever cancel him off.