EPL

Granit Xhaka: New Man of Steel at Emirates Stadium

Granit Xhaka: New Man of Steel at Emirates Stadium
GARBER SPORTS

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For many Arsenal fans, the title of dubbing a player the “new Patrick Vieira ” has become a sense of urgency rather than credibility after a set of performances. The tag has been slapped on numerous players by Arsenal fans in pure hope, practically since the day the midfield enforcer left for Juventus in 2005.

In the search for a replacement for their iconic captain, many have come, gone, or just failed to live up to expectations: Alex Song , Lassana Diarra , Emmanuel Frimpong and, of course, Abou “treatment table” Diaby , to name but a few.

But in Granit Xhaka – an imminent £30m arrival from Borussia Monchengladbach – they may have finally found the man to add serious steel to the Gunners’ midfield.

Why? Well, his disciplinary record in the Bundesliga speaks for itself.

Only two players committed more fouls this past season than Granit Xhaka (73) in the German top flight:

Bundesliga 2015-16: fouls conceded

Sandro Wagner

DARMSTADT, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 22: Sandro Wagner of Darmstadt celebrates his team's second goal during the Bundesliga match between SV Darmstadt 98 and Werder Bremen at Merck-Stadion am Boellenfalltor on September 22, 2015 in Darmstadt, Germany. (Photo by Simon Hofmann/Bongarts/Getty Images)

96

Lewis Holtby

DORTMUND, GERMANY - OCTOBER 04: Lewis Holtby of Hamburger SV celebrates victory after the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Hamburger SV at Signal Iduna Park on October 4, 2014 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images)

75

Granit Xhaka

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Granit Xhaka during the training session of Borussia Moenchengladbach on the eve of the UEFA Champions League group D match against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on December 07, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images)

73

*Stats according to Opta

While only one player has earned more red cards than Xhaka (five) over the last three seasons in Europe’s top five leagues (England, Germany, Italy, Spain, France):

Red cards in Europe’s top five leagues (August 2013-present)

Yannick Cahuzac

Yannick Cahuzac celebrates after scoring during the L1 football match between Bastia and SCO Angers on May 7, 2016

6

Jeison Murillo

Jeison Murillo in action during the Serie A match between Inter Milan and Carpi at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on January 24, 2016

5

Granit Xhaka

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 07: Granit Xhaka during the training session of Borussia Moenchengladbach on the eve of the UEFA Champions League group D match against Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on December 07, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images)

5

*Stats according to Opta

Of these, THREE came in this season alone! Starting to get flashbacks with all-action Vieira and his regular dealings with referees in his earlier Arsenal days, Gooners? Thought so.

His stats also make remarkable reading when compared to the Gunners’ current options in midfield. Xhaka’s 73 fouls this season came in 28 appearances; Francis Coquelin conceded 24 fouls in 26 appearances and Aaron Ramsey 47 in 31 outings.

His tackles won ratio (79%) will also please fans, as it ranks very favourably against the likes of Coquelin (79%), Ramsey (76%), Flamini (65%), Elneny (80%) and Cazorla (82%).

Granit’s impressive going forward, too: he created 22 goalscoring chances this season – with one being converted – and 85% of his 2,316 passes were completed. His shooting accuracy came in at 48% – more than Coquelin (0%), Ramsey (46%), Flamini (40%), Elneny (40%) and Cazorla (44%).

 

 

 

So, whisper it quietly, Gooners – but you could be looking at the genuine new Patrick Vieira, at long last…

Granit Xhaka signs for Arsenal

 

                                            


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GARBER SPORTS
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