Arsenal: Granit Xhaka Will Not Be Remembered By Moments

Arsenal nation is abuzz with massive criticism towards Granit Xhaka and that’s fine, but let’s not define his career by mere moments. There’s more to it than that.

Arsenal nation does not take poor performances very easily. Just ask Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey or literally any other Gunner. When they under perform in the slightest, they had better stay off Google for a few weeks. Months. Years.

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Granit Xhaka has fallen into some particularly harsh criticism. After being sent off with a 1-0 lead against Burnley for an impetuous tackle, there are reports that he racially abused someone at Heathrow Airport. While the investigation is still ongoing, I have my doubts. Xhaka has an immaculate record off the pitch.

Still, headlines tell the story. Numerous publications are running stories that Xhaka is not a leader at all. In fact, he is more of a liability. Social media is saturated with calls for him to be sold and to stop bringing the club down.

But come on. This is all a bit much. I recall not that long ago everyone was begging for a hard-nosed midfielder who got the occasional red card. Obviously these aren’t the red cards we had in mind and they aren’t exactly in line with what Patrick Vieira was known for, but Xhaka can be a bit of a mean man on the pitch.

The impetuous tackles have to go – and they will – but completely withdrawing all faith in the man is a gross overreaction. It’s a prime example of the masses using moments to define a career.

Xhaka’s disciplinary record on the pitch is there for everyone to see. He gets cards. But Arsene Wenger knew that when he bought him. We wanted that not that long ago. Xhaka still has tremendous upside and we and the media are selling him incredibly short by using these every-so-often muff ups as career definers.

Granit Xhaka will be back and he will continue to improve. We will see more mistakes and more recoveries. This doesn’t make him a liability.

And to rob him of the title of leader? No way. Lately he has fallen down the captaincy wishlist, but a few gaffs does not strip someone of their leadership abilities.

This criticism of him is fair, but it is also overblown in its quantity. He is a fantastic asset to the club and that will only improve as we go forward.