Andy Townsend slammed Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka ahead of the Gunners facing Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday.
Gunners boss Unai Emery revealed during his press conference, as per Football.London, that Xhaka could make his first appearance for the club against the Bundesliga side since gesturing to fans angrily in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.
Townsend shared he had no problem with Emery potentially utilising Xhaka again but took a dig at the 27-year-old as he claimed the midfielder had been ordinary for too long.
“Listen I’ve got no problem with him coming back Geoff,” said Townsend on Sky Sports’ The Debate (Sky Sports Premier League, Wednesday, November 27th, 22:52).
“But hopefully…it might drag a better performance out of him as he’s been too ordinary for too long.”
Is Townsend fair with his assessment of Xhaka?
The former Chelsea man has made it clear that he has no issue with Xhaka being given a chance to redeem himself after letting his emotions get the better of him last month, and that’s fair.
The 27-year-old is only human and while his reaction wasn’t the most professional, given the level of criticism he receives, it’s just a surprise it took that long for him to blow his lid.
However, it’s clear that Xhaka hasn’t been impressing for a while and needs to up his performances.
The midfielder, who earns £100,000-a-week (Source: Spotrac), certainly made enough tackles to make his presence known in his first nine league outings this season, but that’s the only positive you can really say.
Xhaka averaged two tackles per game but only averaged 0.4 interceptions and 0.6 blocks across his league outings, so you can hardly say he’s been an impassable rock in midfield. (Source: WhoScored)
Also, it is worth noting the 27-year-old has averaged 2.4 fouls per game, which shows how he can let his side down.
So with that in mind, if he is to feature against Eintracht Frankfurt, everyone will be hoping the break from the team has worked wonders for him and that he manages to prove his talents.