Arsenal: Do we still not want Granit Xhaka as captain?

Arsenal’s captaincy is more of an honorarium, but even still, hasn’t Granit Xhaka exuded what we want to see, particularly when the team is down?

Arsenal’s woes continued against Brighton & Hove Albion. The worst part is that is was remarkably unsurprising. The same horrible mentality showed up as soon as Brighton pulled ahead in the match.

There aren’t a lot of positives, and let me say again that I understand that in losses, you lose as a team, no one is excluded. But in the past three losses, two to Manchester City and one to… ugh… Brighton & Hove Albion, there has been but one man that I have consistently pointed to and asked why more players couldn’t play like he was.

Surprise, surprise, that man is Granit Xhaka. But let me go ahead and say that for as biased as I can appear to be, I can be critical of him for what he doesn’t do right, and I have been. I’ve just been adamant in my reminder that not being used correctly doesn’t fall on him.

Disclaimer aside, we saw again today the same thing we saw in the past two matches. As the depression set in and hope dwindled, the true fighters came out. Rather than loafing and sulking and wandering about aimlessly, Xhaka fought tooth and nail for every ball, he was integral to every bit of play.

Yet again, he dominated touches, making himself available for every situation and, as mentioned, he never quit. He even deputized along the defensive line at fullback and centerback when his team mates were caught out.

Few others could be troubled with such burdens, but Xhaka welcomed it, leading the team in defensive actions yet again as well.

Setting aside your bias and your hatred of what type of player Xhaka is, doesn’t it make sense that, in a captain, we want someone who is going to play at a consistent level and even escalate his level when the going gets rough? Xhaka did that.

Even I was surprised by how well he was playing, and that’s saying something. I was also quite pleased that others were taking note as well. He was not happy with how the match was going and he wanted to change things. Problem is, that can’t be changed all by himself.

Even if you don’t think he should be in the captain conversation, you have to admit that this mentality and these obvious improvements are the kinds of things you’d want to build a team around, not without.

Xhaka is coming into his best as the team hits their worst. That is a rare, rare feature for an Arsenal player and it’s time that he gets his due credit for it.