After a disastrous end to the season, Arsenal fans have been quick to point fingers at members of the team for such an embarrassing conclusion to what looked like a promising year.
Mesut Ozil has taken most of the criticism after one of his worst performances in an Arsenal shirt in Baku, as has manager Unai Emery for playing it way too safe, and another popular target for fans in recent weeks has been Granit Xhaka, who has faced the wrath of Gunners supporters ever since his move to north London nearly four years ago.
The former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder has often been used as a scapegoat by Arsenal fans for his lack of pace and more than questionable passes in certain games, and with a massive summer ahead for the club, there is a rift in the fan base on whether or not Xhaka should be sold this transfer window.
With the UEFA Nations League fast approaching, Xhaka’s club future is likely the least of his worries, but the midfielder’s performances in Portugal could determine what happens to the Swiss midfielder this summer, and poor performances will only mount pressure on the Arsenal man.
Facing off against the hosts, Switzerland head into the game the underdogs, with Portugal boasting the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota, and such an attacking threat means that goals are almost certain to flow, meaning Xhaka will have a tough time on his hands in midfield.
A poor performance and early elimination for Switzerland will almost certainly mean more criticism for Xhaka from his club supporters, and it could also raise some red flags for Emery heading into pre-season.
Arsenal are a club in transition and are in need of changes in the squad, and although Xhaka has improved slightly under Emery, he isn’t the player that will lead the team into a new, golden age that brings trophies and success.
The Nations League will open Emery’s eyes to a player fans and critics have seen for years, a decent central midfielder who won’t offer the club much going forward in the long-term and has silently been damaging progression.
If Xhaka puts in a lacklustre display in Portugal, it could be detrimental to his future at Arsenal.