Granit Xhaka has thanked Arsenal supporters for a ‘very special day’ after he captained the Gunners to a 3-0 win against Brentford on Sunday.
Goals from William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira at the Gtech Community Stadium sent Arsenal back to the top of the Premier League table as the international break begins.
With club captain Martin Odegaard out injured, Xhaka was handed the armband and performed brilliantly, setting up Jesus’ strike with a delightful chip into the box.
Arsenal fans serenaded the Swiss midfielder throughout and after the game, chanting his name – something that would have been unthinkable three years ago when Xhaka infamously threw his shirt on the ground upon getting jeered off by his own supporters in a home game against Crystal Palace.
Then-manager Unai Emery stripped him of the captaincy after the incident, and his Arsenal career looked over until Mikel Arteta arrived and convinced the player to stay at the Emirates.
Now, Xhaka is playing his best football much to the fans’ delight, and the 29-year-old took over Arsenal’s official Twitter account to post a message of thanks to the supporters after the Brentford match.
‘Hey guys, Granit here. Great win, great result, thanks for your support,’ he said.
‘You’ve been amazing but as well for myself to hear what happened today, to say my name, to sing the song for me.
‘It’s a very, very special day and thank you again, see you soon. All the best guys.’
After six wins in seven games, Arsenal are top of the table, a point ahead of Manchester City and Tottenham, with some believing they have a real shot at the title this season.
‘You see the different mentality we have this season,’ Xhaka told Sky Sports.
‘We had a great chance after one minute with [Gabriel] Martinelli, if we score then we start well. We kept going, working each other and we are training like we play and we have class as well with individual players that can make a difference. Today you saw that.’
Xhaka’s form has played a big part in their recent success, with Arteta, in his post-match press conference, revealing the midfielder’s desire to be captain in Odegaard’s absence, saying: ‘He was demanding it.
‘I think he feels now that love and respect both ways. You see our supporters, the way they were singing to him as well, emotionally that makes him try to give even more.
‘His willingness always to stay humble, to look forward and try to get better and when you do that, normally good things happen. I’m really pleased for him because in my opinion he really deserves it.’
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