Wenger: Xhaka has improved defensively

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists Granit Xhaka is "not a dirty player", but admits the midfielder will have to continue adapting his game to the English Premier League.

The Switzerland international joined the Gunners from Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach in the off-season, and has featured regularly in his first season in England's top flight.

He has featured 24 times in all competitions, bagging three goals and providing one assist in the process.

However, his defensive abilities and temperament have again been called into question after he conceded a penalty in the 3-3 draw with Bournemouth in midweek.

When asked to respond to claims that Xhaka is dirty player, Wenger told reporters: "You can see in his game he is not a dirty player.

"Overall I am quite happy with his defensive evolution.

"He is less spectacular in his tackling and he stays more on his feet. He uses his body better to win the challenges and his recovery runs are stronger when the ball goes behind him.

"He is much more focused defensively than before. He has improved a lot on that front."

Xhaka has conceded a spot-kick on more than one occasion this season, and Wenger admits the player must aim to eliminate that from his game.

He added: "He has conceded a few and I agree he has to stop that.

"But always it's… is it really a penalty or not? I think he was unlucky on both occasions, but he has to adapt."

Comments