It was a fairly common consensus before the arrival of Granit Xhaka that Arsenal need a solid holding midfielder in order to become title challengers again and the Swiss international has done little to change that perception.
The 61-cap star is impetuous and sometimes ill-disciplined, possessing the fight but often not the finesse to solve the long-standing issues in front of the Gunners defence under Arsene Wenger.
As Arsenal gear up to replace Wenger, whoever the new man in the hotseat may well have earmarked defensive midfield as an area in need of rapid improvement.
However, in Arsenal’s final game before Wenger’s departure – the 1-0 win at Huddersfield that finally saw the Gunners pick up an away point on the road in 2018 – Xhaka played like a man looking to prove the critics wrong.
It was Xhaka’s passing that stood out against the Terriers, recording an impressive 95% accuracy from his 57 efforts as well as making 68 touches.
He also tried to make things happen in a more direct way that may appeal to Wenger’s successor – with one cross and three long balls.
This was the performance of a man who knows he is playing for his place at the club.