Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has been told of an “important” tactical decision that he made regarding Grant Xhaka, which paid off in Arsenal’s visit to Brentford on Saturday. William Saliba gave the Gunners the lead from a corner, but Gabriel Jesus got their second after a sublime assist from the Swiss midfielder.
Arteta has deployed Xhaka in a more forward role this season, which former Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp hailed ahead of the game. “I think they made a decision,” Redknapp told Sky Sports. “The amount of times I’ve watched Granit Xhaka lose the ball in his half trying to play out from the back, getting the ball on the pivot and they’ve conceded a goal.
“I think they’ve said ‘listen, lets get him further up the pitch, get him as high away from his own goal as possible’ where he can effect the game in the box because he’s not got that pace in that area to get away from people. Teams would press him high up and he would find ourselves conceding the ball too often.
“This year he’s had a good start to the season, the fact the manager has him higher up the pitch, affecting the game more, it’s important. No [Martin] Odegaard is a massive blow, he’s like a manager on the pitch.”