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Arsenal: Granit Xhaka was Arteta’s unsung hero

Arsenal continued their excellent Premier League form with a 2-0 victory in the North London derby against Tottenham Hotspur, giving them an eight-point lead at the top of the table.

The Gunners dominated the first half, with Hugo Lloris at fault for the first goal as he weakly palmed a Bukayo Saka effort into his own net, before Martin Odegaard extended the visitors’ lead with a powerful shot driven into the home side’s goal.

The second half saw the home side start the strongest, but they couldn’t grab a goal which may or may not have changed the outcome of the game, and it was another fine win for Arsenal as they continue their march towards what could be a first league title in 19 years.

Thomas Partey and Odegaard particularly impressed, with the latter playing two key passes and scoring the second goal, but it was Granit Xhaka who was Arteta’s unsung hero in the match.

The midfielder is having one of his finest seasons at the club, having registered seven goal contributions across 18 league matches this term while taking 1.2 shots on target and making 1.5 key passes per game, underlining how effective his attacking qualities have become.

Against Spurs, the “smooth” maestro – as dubbed by Alex Batt of GIVEMESPORT – was in imperious form, creating one big chance, making one key pass and having one shot during the match as he dominated the midfield area alongside Odegaard and Partey.

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His passing and defensive qualities were also on show throughout, with the 30-year-old holding a 98% pass success rate (45/46) while taking 59 touches during the game, losing possession just twice.

Add those to his three blocks, made two interceptions, one tackle and one clearance, and it’s evident that Arteta has managed to get the best from Xhaka this season, giving a masterclass on Sunday.

His ability to function well at both ends of the pitch is becoming a significant advantage for the Gunners, and if he can continue this rich vein of form through the next few months, it could go a long way to helping Arsenal win silverware of some sort.

Will Arsenal win the Premier League?

Yes!

Yes!

No - they'll fall short

No - they'll fall short