“he-is-a-fighter”-–-mikel-arteta-heaps-praise-on-arsenal-star-after-chelsea-win

Mikel Arteta heaped praise on Granit Xhaka after the midfielder’s sensational performance against Chelsea.

Arsenal beat the Blues 1-0 at Stamford Bridge on Sunday to return to the summit of the Premier League.

The Gunners’ relentless start to the season sees them two points clear of Manchester City and with a realistic chance of claiming their first league title since 2004.

Xhaka, who is flourishing as a box-to-box midfielder this season, has been a key cog in Arsenal’s title-chasing side and has become an unlikely fan-favourite at the Emirates.

For years since his 2016 summer arrival, the Switzerland international has divided the Arsenal fanbase, with some bemoaning his tendency to make high-profile errors.

When asked about the 30-year-old’s turnaround this season, Arteta told the club website: “He is a fighter.

“He’s someone that is going to face difficulty and adversity, he’s done that and now he needs to enjoy it as well.

“He needs to learn to enjoy more the good moments, I think he deserves that.”

In 2019 Xhaka was stripped of the captaincy after he directed a foul-mouthed on-pitch rant towards his own support.

The player was jeered by his own supporters when being substituted by then manager Unai Emery against Crystal Palace.

The Swiss star responded by cursing and sarcastically cupping his ear before storming down the Emirates tunnel.

Xhaka has since admitted that he was set to leave the north Londoners until a conversation with Arteta convinced him to stay.

Speaking to the BBC Xhaka explained: “He (Arteta) is the reason why I’m still at this football club. All of the club knows why I am still here because three years ago I was gone.

“My suitcases were packed and finished, but I had a meeting with Mikel when he came. He wanted to hear my opinion about what had happened and I explained to him.

“He said, ‘Give me a chance for six months and if you are still not happy after six months, I’m the guy who will help you, not to run away, but you can leave.

“I didn’t speak with family, with nobody, and normally I don’t do that. But I said, ‘OK Mikel, I will stay for you, and I’m still here.”