Mikel Arteta discusses Xhaka-Zinchenko after Arsenal’s 3-0 win.
Granit Xhaka has benefited greatly from the Ukrainian’s presence. Arsenal continued their good start to the 2022-23 Premier League season with a 3-0 win at Bournemouth, placing them on top of the table.
A brace by club captain Martin degaard and a stunning strike from William Saliba helped Mikel Arteta’s soldiers make it three victories in three to headline their strong start to the new campaign. Last season’s opening exchanges brought the polar opposite outcome.
Oleksandr Zinchenko’s entrance has been a crucial element in the start of the season.
Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko applauds the supporters after the final whistle. Date: 13 August 2022. 2JNR9H3 Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko applauds the supporters after the final whistle. Date: 13 August 2022.
Arteta knew the former Shakhtar Donetsk academy graduate and former Citizen under Pep Guardiola when the Gunners needed a left-back upgrade.
Zinchenko has looked confident and comfortable in his three outings this season.
But his presence in the match day XI signifies much more than an upgrade over Kieran Tierney. It has infused new energy into Arsenal’s play down the left side, which has benefited Granit Xhaka.
Arteta explained how Zinchenko has allowed a fresh version of Xhaka to emerge early this season and what it means for the team.
Xhaka has been a vital presence in Arsenal’s final third this season in a way rarely seen before from the Basel native. The Swiss midfielder routinely gets into positions in and around the box to become an even larger offensive threat.
Zinchenko’s mastery of his role seems to transcend Tierney’s given his intellect and ability to read the game on and off the ball, when Arsenal are in possession and on the prowl defensively.
Preseason friendly between Arsenal and Chelsea Granit Xhaka of Arsenal during a preseason match against Chelsea in London on August 1, 2021.
Thus, Xhaka’s style will be familiar to Bundesliga fans, especially Borussia Mönchengladbach fans.
During his four years at Gladbach, Xhaka was a major contributor in the middle and final thirds for Die Fohlen. He supplied a goal threat from outside the box and creative control that Arsenal has lacked due to the requirement for a deeper midfielder.
This prompted many supporters to misdiagnose his player profile as a holding midfielder, even after his arrival in north London.
With Xhaka reprising his former position in Germany, Arsenal has a new dimension under Arteta owing to Zinchenko, which may quietly help to the club’s goal of securing Champions League football next season.