Granit Xhaka could join Mesut Ozil as the next senior star to be frozen out at Arsenal, says Martin Keown, with the hot-headed midfielder warned that “huge mistakes” may leave him with no way back.
An all too familiar rush of blood from Xhaka saw a red card flashed in his direction, with Mikel Arteta’s side going on to suffer a 1-0 defeat with 10 men.
Keown admits changes need to be made at Emirates Stadium on the back of the club’s worst startto a season since 1974-75, with messages from the coaching staff not getting through.
The former Gunners defender wants to see the man calling the shots make bold decisions for the good of the collective cause, with it possible that Xhaka could become an outcast as part of that process.
“Mikel Arteta’s long-term vision is clashing withArsenal’s current predicament,” Keown told the Daily Mail.
“It is something of an understatement to say his attempt to switch to a back four has not worked. The last fourPremier Leagueresults playing that way are: lost three, drawn one. It is relegation form and Arsenal are in crisis.
“Going into theAston Villagame last month, Arsenal had the best defensive record and had just won at Old Trafford for the first time in the league since 2006. All with the back five with which they won theFA Cupand Community Shield.
“True, they lost against Villa with a back five and the lack of creativity in a game they should have bossed was alarming -but I don’t think the manager needed to change it because of one result.
“Clearly Arteta’s plan is to play 4-2-1-3. But for that to work he needs two world-class central midfielders. He may have one in Thomas Partey but the Ghanaian is out for a while after being rushed back too soon from injury for the Tottenham game.
“Arsenal are still searching for the right balance in centre midfield, unlike Spurs, who have the perfect duo in Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Moussa Sissoko, prepared to go to war for their manager.
“Which brings me to Granit Xhaka. Of course, he will be under fire after Sunday’s sending-off against Burnley, and rightly so.
“He just does not get around the pitch quickly enough. He has made some huge mistakes -so many in fact you would be surprised if there is a way back under Arteta.
“If the experienced players cannot do it, it is time to trust a youngster in the heart of midfield. Ainsley Maitland-Niles is an England player and he was superb in that position against Rapid Vienna. He has great pace, is good in possession and can defend.”
Source : goal.com