North London prepares for the clash of the titans this weekend, as Arsenal take on bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Ahead of the game, Wenger has expressed concern over the disciplinary record of summer signing Granit Xhaka
This weekend could provide Xhaka with his first taste of the North London derby. The fixture takes on even more significance because of the way the Premier League table is poised. Fifth placed Spurs are just three points behind second-placed Arsenal.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger will be fielding his best side for the encounter. However, the Frenchman has some concerns over his star summer signing Granit Xhaka, who has been impressive in central midfield.
“I’ve no specific idea what I’ll do [with the starting XI] but I am concerned [with his discipline] yes,” Wenger told reporters ahead of the game, according to Goal.
“Discipline is important and we want to be effective in the situations we face in a derby. I think he’s quite a composed and calm guy, sometimes on the field the reaction is a bit impulsive.
“He needs to work on that and his control in the game.”
Xhaka saw red last month as the Gunners eked out a 3-2 win over Swansea City. The Swiss midfielder is eligible to play against Spurs, but Wenger may be worried that he will lose his cool once again in the fiercely competitive fixture.
This is the first time the 24-year-old was sent off after signing for Arsenal. He saw red thrice last season with former club Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga, and Gooners will be hoping he doesn’t attempt to equal that record this time around.
Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla is a doubt for the game with an Achilles tendon injury. The pairing of Francis Coquelin and Mohamed Elneny did well for the club against Sunderland last week. However, Xhaka is coming off a good game against Ludogorets in the Champions League.
It will be interesting to see if Wenger believes that caution is the better part of valour, and benches Xhaka for the high octane encounter.