Granit Xhaka posts lowest ever tackle stats but all is not as it seems as Arsenal star thrives under Arteta | The Sun
ARSENAL star Granit Xhaka is thriving in his new position under Mikel Arteta – despite boasting the lowest tackle stats of his career so far this season.
The Swiss international has been deployed as a free-roaming No8 alongside Martin Odegaard, with Thomas Partey playing as a lone defensive midfelder.
In previous seasons, the 29-year-old has featured in a double-pivot next to Partey, where he has been used as a deep-lying playmaker.
But Xhaka was also burdened with defensive duties which restricted him from advancing further up the pitch.
However, Arteta has swapped his 4-2-3-1 formation to a fluid 4-3-3 which uses inverted full-backs, allowing Xhaka to venture forward.
This has had a huge impact on his game, with stats obtained from WhoScored showing Xhaka makes just 0.8 tackles per 90 minutes in the top-flight so far in the 2022-23 term.
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That is his lowest ever in a league campaign, with full-backs Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ben White helping out with defending in central areas.
In contrast, Ghana international Partey has averaged three tackles a game.
But Xhaka now makes 1.8 key passes per 90 minutes – his highest ever return.
Last season Xhaka managed managed 1.2 key passes, and in the two previous seasons he recorded just 0.6.
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The ex-Borussia Monchengladbach ace has also created more chances than any of his Gunners team-mates.
Of the 16 chances Xhaka has created, 15 have been from open play.
The ex-Arsenal skipper has already racked up two assists in the Premier League, along with one goal from his six outings.
That is incredibly the same amount of goal contributions as what he managed in each of the three previous seasons.
And with Partey back from injury after missing the last three matches, Xhaka will once again be free to roam forward in Sunday's away clash at Brentford.
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