Granit Xhaka’s redemption story at Arsenal appears well and truly complete with fans and pundits raving about his recent performances.
Just three years ago, in October 2019, his career at the north London club appeared all-but over when he sarcastic applauded supporters who were cheering when he was substituted.
The 29-year-old was stripped of the captaincy weeks later and it appeared unlikely he would be an Arsenal player much longer.
Now under Mikel Arteta, he is thriving in a more advanced role and a scintillating first half performance against Brentford on Sunday had everyone raving.
Xhaka provided a delightful cross for Gabriel Jesus, who headed home for the Gunners’ second.
The Brazilian then thanked the midfielder by polishing his boot.
He has one goal and three assists so far this season, beating his record for the previous three seasons.
Only once has Xhaka got more assists in a single campaign, when he got seven in the 2017/18 campaign.
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talkSPORT’s pundits were waxing lyrical about the midfielder at half-time.
Former Gunners winger Perry Groves said: “I’ve been very impressed with Arsenal in the midfield. I don’t think Brentford have got to terms with the position Granit Xhaka is playing.
“He’s the one who is dominating. He’s playing a bit further forward than Thomas Partey, that’s what we saw with Arsenal’s second goal, which was a brilliant cross for Jesus.”
Andy Townsend added: “He sits in well when Gabriel stepped in, he’s the first one to recognise there’s a gap there that might need plugging.
“He’s a very experienced campaigner. It wasn’t that long ago that pretty much everybody at Arsenal wanted him out the door.
“Today, he has shown a very mature side to his game. I haven’t seen a poor Arsenal performance out there.”