Following Granit Xhaka’s mixed showing at left-back against Crystal Palace, Arsenal fans are fearful for this weekend’s clash with Liverpool, in which the Swiss hard-man could be tasked with nullifying Mohamed Salah if Nacho Monreal or Sead Kolasinac are still sidelined.
Despite scoring an absolute thunderbolt of a free-kick at Selhurst Park on Sunday Xhaka was slammed for taking Wilfried Zaha out as the Ivorian danced into the box, thus gifting Palace captain Luka Milivojevic the chance to net his second penalty of the game.
The general consensus is that the 26-year-old is neither mobile or disciplined enough to operate at left-back and the Gunners were fortunate that the hosts did not think to switch the tricky Zaha over to the right sooner, as the result could have been very different.
Unai Emery’s side face Blackpool in the League Cup on Wednesday before hosting Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool on Saturday, and the Arsenal faithful are dreading the idea that the former Monchengladbach man could continue in defence; it does look unlikely considering both Monreal and Kolasinac are expected back in contention by then, but expectation doesn’t seem to be enough assurance.
Here’s how they reacted on Twitter.
Especially if all our FBs are hurt. Imagine xhaka vs salah, mane, shaqiri…ok, have to stop or I'll give myself a heart attack ?
— Kevin Dineen (@gunnerdineen) October 28, 2018
Excellent news because I don't really fancy Xhaka at left back against Salah, Mane and Firmino!
— Arsenal Stats Guru (@QwikMaths) October 28, 2018
Bruh…we can't have Xhaka playing against Salah in that left back role… he'll be turned inside out. I hope we'll have Nacho,Kola or AMN back before then…cz man…ayayaya
— Familiar Stranger (@ChloeMW_AFC) October 28, 2018
None of that Xhaka at Lb thing vs Pool. Can’t have it. Did decent these few games vs these teams. Abeg, no be against Salah, I carry God beg Unai. Let him continue with obele agu in the middle.
— Ezenwanyi. (@Adorayyble1) October 28, 2018
I pray Monreal or Kolasinac are fit for Liverpool next week. Xhaka vs Salah is what no one in this world wants to see
— ?? (@Mta_1991) October 28, 2018
So it's not going to be Xhaka against Salah?! pic.twitter.com/VTZXLd6TYx
— Nisheeth Agarwal (@goonermainhun) October 28, 2018
Don’t worry, hopefully Monreal will be back by then. ? We can’t survive with Xhaka vs Salah.
— Zibo? (@Classy_Lad) 28 October 2018