Press conference

Arteta: "Xhaka deserves it"

Xhaka and Ramsdale

Once again this season Granit Xhaka put in a man-of-the-match performance in the middle of the park to help Arsenal earn another victory on Thursday night.

As usual in the Europa League so far this season, the influential midfielder took the armband in Martin Odegaard’s absence, and proved to be the matchwinner with his second-half strike.

“He deserves that,” Mikel Arteta said afterwards. “He has faced adversity in difficult moments, he has put his arm up when he had something different to do, his work ethic, the way he is as a person, the way he treats everyone around the club, and the love for this football club and profession is unquestionable.

“He fully deserves that and I’m really happy to see him enjoying his career.”

It was Xhaka’s third goal of the season, already just one short of his best ever seasonal tally for the club. Arteta believes there is more to come.

“We believed he had the qualities to do that,” he said, “and sometimes it’s just unlocking something in the players mind and be more open and be receptive to all the things.

“He’s been extremely open and his work rate all the time to learn is fantastic, and now I think it’s paying off.”

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