ARSENE WENGER: ‘The Arsenal icon Granit reminds me of’

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Arsène Wenger was delighted with Granit Xhaka’s performance in Arsenal’s victory at Watford on Saturday – and says his display brought back memories of a former midfielder.

The Swiss midfielder attempted more passes, made more tackles and had more touches of the ball than any other player in the win, and also covered the most ground (11.65km).

“I believe he has a good mixture of short and long balls, in midfield it is important for us to sometimes stretch the defenders,” Wenger said after the match.

“We have a game that is based on shorter passes than other teams so sometimes when you have a player who can kick the longer ball, it gives us a chance to get some oxygen and some space.

WATFORD, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Granit Xhaka of Arsenal in action during the Premier League match between Watford and Arsenal at Vicarage Road on August 27, 2016 in Watford, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

“He is a guy who plays naturally behind the ball. He is a bit similar to Petit in the way he plays football. He likes to sit, give good long balls and be available with the centre-backs.

“He has a good engine, good stature, he is good in the air and has a good balance in his game, he has a good short ball and a good long ball.

“He is 24 years old, he has already experience abroad and that is always a problem and is more reassuring when a player has already played abroad somewhere.

“He was captain at his age at Monchengladbach, that is not a small club so he has leadership qualities.”

 

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