Unai Emery pleased with Granit Xhaka’s commitment

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has admitted that he is pleased with the commitment shown from Granit Xhaka despite the Switzerland international playing out of position during the recent north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur. The Gunners had gone into the game with just one senior centre-back available in the form of Sokratis and this witnessed Xhaka slot into the heart of the defence not for the first time.

Still, the presence could not prevent the Gunners suffering a 2-0 defeat in the League Cup quarter-final but Emery was nonetheless pleased with the Swiss’ commitment in a tough situation for the club, he said: “The players are helping us with their commitment, playing in different positions because the team needs them sometimes like today, because after Sunday it was a lot of minutes on the pitch for Koscielny to play today 90 minutes. He is helping [Xhaka] and I am happy with him and his performance because his commitment to help us is very important.”

With the Spurs defeat, “the Gunners have suffered successive losses and this has been a rare occurrence under Unai Emery with August being the only previous occasion“ when this has happened “under the Spanish tactician“. Despite this, the Gunners don’t have much time to ponder on the results with the festive schedule underway and they are set to entertain Burnley for the next league game at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have failed to secure maximum points in just one of the previous eight matches against the Clarets but they can still expect a tricky test with Sean Dyche’s side possessing the likes of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes, who should provide the added physicality to test the Gunners backline, which remains far from regular strength.Both Shkodran Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny are deemed doubtful for the Premier League fixture.