Tony Cascarino slams Granit Xhaka and questions why Mikel Arteta continues to pick Arsenal midfielder

Xhaka has hardly improved under Arteta, says Cascarino
Xhaka has hardly improved under Arteta, says Cascarino (Picture: Getty Images)

Tony Cascarino can’t see what benefits Granit Xhaka brings to Arsenal’s team and claims the midfielder has failed to improve under Mikel Arteta.

The 28-year-old wanted to leave the club in January of last season following an incident in which he was booed off the pitch by his own supporters.

Arteta convinced Xhaka to change his mind upon his arrival at the Emirates and the Swiss international has been a mainstay in the Gunners side ever since.

Arteta has consistently picked Xhaka
Arteta has consistently picked Xhaka (Picture: Getty Images)

But Xhaka’s defensive deficiencies were once again exposed in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Wolves with Adama Traore particularly troubling the former Arsenal captain.

And ex-Chelsea striker Cascarino can’t fathom why Arteta continues to pick the midfielder.

‘We heard so much about how Arteta had revitalised Xhaka after the midfielder’s falling-out with fans but the only thing he does better nowadays is not shoot wastefully from 40 yards,’ Cascarino told The Times.

‘He does little more than get the ball off the back four and make a simple pass, and commit lots of fouls.

‘He seems incapable of making a challenge without conceding a free-kick. Yet Arteta continues to pick him.’

After the high of winning the FA Cup last season, the Gunners are now struggling and head into their north London derby clash against Tottenham on Sunday in 14th place in the table.

Arsenal have lost five of their opening 10 league games this season, and Cascarino believes Arteta has multiple issues within his squad.

‘People were quick to claim Arteta had solved Arsenal’s problems when they won the FA Cup but that was never the case,’ he added.

‘From [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang and [Alexandre] Lacazette to Xhaka, Nicolas Pépé and Héctor Bellerín there are issues with players all over the pitch, and that’s not even mentioning the exiled [Mesut] Özil.

‘When a new manager walks into a dressing room players tend to make an extra effort because they want to prove a point, and that’s exactly what happened with Arsenal when Arteta arrived last December. The forwards pressed and formed an effective first line of defence that made the team hard to beat, which is what they’ve been lacking for years.

‘But that’s all gone now. The attacking players aren’t working as hard. Lacazette thinks that Arteta doesn’t really appreciate him, while Aubameyang has gone backwards since signing his new contract in September.

‘I can’t work out if Aubameyang is a left winger or a centre forward. Against Wolves the other day he hardly touched the ball and looked like a young lad making his debut rather than a 31-year-old who was brought in for £56 million.’

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