Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka suffers injury scare ahead of West Brom clash
Arsenal could be without key first-team player Granit Xhaka when they host West Brom at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday evening.
The Switzerland captain has been a regular for the Gunners this season, starting 40 games across a number of different positions, including left-back and his more favoured central midfield position. [WhoScored]
He was due to start their crucial Europa League semi-final second leg clash with Villarreal on Thursday, but he pulled up lame with an injury in the warm-up and was subsequently withdrawn from the side named by Mikel Arteta, replaced by Kieran Tierney.
Arteta told BT Sport [22:00, 07/05/21] after the game, which they drew 0-0 to crash out of the competition, that the loss of Xhaka “changed our plan completely”.
The Arsenal manager called the 28-year-old “phenomenal” in January [Guardian] so it’s no surprise to hear him cite his absence as a key factor in their inability to beat Villarreal.
According to Physio Room Xhaka is given a 75% chance of playing against West Brom on Sunday as he is currently being assessed for muscular tightness.
Good or bad?
We’re not sure if we’d be better off with or without the inclusion of Xhaka in their starting XI.
He is clearly a talented player on the ball but is often prone to costly errors and moments of indiscipline, so he’s a potential weak point that we could exploit.
Furthermore, the reports were that he was set to start at left-back against Villarreal, and we’d have been rubbing our hands if that was the same again on Sunday.
With Matheus Pereira in supreme form recently he could cause all sorts of damage to Xhaka if he drifts onto the right-hand side of our attack.
But Arteta is evidently downbeat on losing him from the side and that should act as a big boost that our opponents are potentially missing a huge part of their plan.
Our Premier League survival chances may be all but over but Sam Allardyce will be demanding we are at full throttle until it’s officially certain, and that means going for all three points in North London.
We could find some joy there against a side out of sorts and down in the dumps after their European exit.
In other West Brom news, ‘Increases their goal threat’ – Mark Lawrenson predicts result in Albion clash v Arsenal.