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‘It shows character’: Peter Crouch and Cesc Fabregas hail Granit Xhaka for turning his Arsenal career around… as he puts the Swiss star in a man of the match display in the North London derby – three years after he was booed and stripped of the captain
Peter Crouch and Cesc Fabregas praised Granit Xhaka for turning his Arsenal career around after a stunning performance in the Gunners’ 3-1 win over Tottenham.
Arsenal grabbed the bragging rights in Saturday’s North London derby and triumphed in the Emirates thanks to goals from Thomas Partey, Gabriel Jesus and a nice third-place finish from Xhaka.
Harry Kane had equalized for Spurs but the elimination of Emerson Royal in the second half made their hopes of winning something out of the game.
Granit Xhaka was named man of the match after Arsenal’s win over Tottenham on Saturday
Xhaka himself was awarded the Player of the Match award and was praised by Gunners fans.
The Swiss international has had a tense relationship with the Arsenal stalwarts since joining the club in 2016.
This includes a well-documented noose on the pitch that saw him taunt fans and throw his shirt on the ground, leading to his being stripped of the captaincy in 2019.
Improved performance since Mikel Arteta took over as manager, however, things started to turn around.
After the game, former Spurs forward Crouch spoke at BT Sport’s studio and praised Xhaka’s turnaround at the club.
Xhaka has rebuilt his Gunners career after falling out with fans and being removed as captain
He said, ‘From the captain’s armband tossed and the booing he got. The way to come back shows character.’
Xhaka has also undergone a change of position under Arteta, with the midfielder playing a little further forward, while Partey has taken on a deeper role in the midfield.
Crouch believes this helped Xhaka convince those who doubted him. He added: “He owes a lot to Thomas Partey for letting him play further forward and it’s an honor for him to have turned it around.”
This view was supported by former Arsenal favorite Cesc Fabregas, who said: “Xhaka was too lonely in midfield at times. His change of position has helped him.
“He struggled in open spaces, but is better when Arsenal are more compact and he now has more freedom to move forward.”
Gunners boss Arteta was delighted with his team’s performance and was delighted to see Xhaka score the third goal.
Fabregas praised the Swiss midfielder and believes his change of position has helped him a lot
He said: ‘You felt the connection between the players, the staff and the crowd and I’m so happy because it was a beautiful day and a great game.’
Xhaka himself was delighted with the three points after the game and thought it was a well-deserved win for the Gunners.
He explained: ‘Absolutely, that’s a huge win. We didn’t have much time to prepare because of the international break. From the first second we are the better team.
“After the goal we conceded, we struggled a little bit, but it’s part of football and the second half was much better.
“It’s my first derby goal in England. I am very happy to help the team. So happy to help the team and win.”
Arsenal’s win over their arch-rivals extends their lead at the top of the table to four points ahead of the rest of their Premier League games.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was delighted with the win that keeps the Gunners at the top of the table