Arsenal Vs Wolves: 5 key players to watch – Absolute must-win

Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe (Photo by ANDREW BOYERS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe (Photo by ANDREW BOYERS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Arsenal, Granit Xhaka
Arsenal, Granit Xhaka (Photo by Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images) /

3. Granit Xhaka

It is quite evident how important Granit Xhaka is to the Arsenal midfield at present. While other players have higher ceilings and should be invested more in the future, at this point in time, Xhaka is needed. However, given the high-intensity way that Wolves play, the Swiss international will need to be at his best.

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In the 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 shape that Wolves employ, they burst on the break brilliantly. They have terrifying pace in the attacking areas and the quality from deep to spring counter-attacks that are extremely difficult contain. Xhaka, it is well-known, does not have the legs to cover these counter-attacks. He will have to be exceptionally positioned to snuff out the danger.

Wolves also have great energy when pressing high. Diogo Jota is relentless, Adama Traore is very quick if he drifts centrally, while Raul Jimenez can drop off the centre-backs to pick Xhaka’s pocket. This is something that has plagued the midfielder throughout his north London career.

In possession, Xhaka should provide Arsenal with greater control than his midfield counterparts. Dani Ceballos was superb against Norwich City and is certainly the more creative of the pair, but Xhaka’s more conservative nature is important to provide an anchor to the team’s attacking play. Nevertheless, it is his play without the ball that will be tested on Saturday.