Arsene Wenger explains why Granit Xhaka isn't starting for Arsenal

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When Arsenal splashed £34 million to sign ex-Borussia Monchengladbach captain Granit Xhaka in the summer, many people, from fans to pundits, thought that he would be given a solid run of games in the side in order to establish himself as a regular.

The midfielder is aggressive, physical, technically gifted and classy in possession, yet he has started just five Premier League matches this season and has fallen behind the likes of Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny in recent weeks, despite the absence of Santi Cazorla.

His all-action, dominant style of play has quickly made him a favourite amongst Gunners fans, not to mention the 24-year-old's three goals, including two spectacular long-range strikes.


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Arsenal welcome Bournemouth to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, and ahead of that game, Wenger has explained why Xhaka isn't starting on a regular basis and also revealed where he thinks his summer signing is best positioned.

Why isn't Xhaka starting?

The French boss admitted, via The Independent: "He (Xhaka) needs to adapt to the way we play and the tactical pace of the English game. Then we need to find the balance. I am confident he will do very well.

"He's more a deep playmaker, I think, than a box-to-box player. He does not get into the final third of the opposition half a lot. He is more a guy who has a fantastic pass to play through the lines."

On Xhaka's impressive passing range, Wenger said: "His strength is what we call the 'moderate value' pass - the passes who come from deep midfield to high midfield."

In response to Xhaka's lack of games, he added: "You will find plenty of players who cost more and don't play. People want you to buy players, but when you buy them, we only have 11 and not 22 and they feel sorry for the 11 who do not play.

"But you want them to compete and convince you that they can get in the team and then it becomes obvious they have to play."

Xhaka's time is coming

Wenger also referred to the fact that the great Thierry Henry, aged 23 when he signed for Arsenal, didn't play until November in his first season in north London, and hence suggesting that Xhaka's time may be coming.

Retired manager Ottmar Hitzfeld, who managed Xhaka for Switzerland, dubbed him the "young Bastian Schweinsteiger", and there's no doubt that the Manchester United man was a world-class player during his prime at Bayern Munich.

Xhaka's disciplinary record is poor, having already picked up three yellow cards and one red for the Gunners, but he has attributes which suggest he will thrive in English football - all he needs is to be given a run in the Arsenal team.

Does Xhaka deserve a place in Arsenal's starting XI? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!

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Alexis Sanchez
UEFA Champions League
Granit Xhaka
Premier League
Mesut Özil
Arsene Wenger

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