Thursday, 26 January 2017

Arsene Wenger thinks Granit Xhaka has a fantastic attitude

Arsene Wenger has praised the "marvellous" dedication from Granit Xhaka following a week of negativity surrounding the midfielder.

The 24-year-old, who joined the Gunners in a £30m deal from Borussia Monchengladbach last summer, has been hit with a four-game ban after getting sent off for a two-footed tackle on Steven Defour in last weekend's 2-1 win over Burnley.

The Switzerland international, who has now been sent off twice this season, was also recently questioned by police over an allegation that he racially abused an airline staff member at Heathrow Airport.  
Wenger has confirmed that he has spoken to Xhaka about the incident, insisting that his player refutes the accusations.

"He denies completely the incident at Heathrow, I have spoken to him about it," Wenger told reporters in Thursday's press conference.

"I can only say about him since the start, he has a fantastic attitude. He has been absolutely marvellous.

"Focus, dedication and we never have a bad noise about him. He is naturally not a great tackler and in his decision making. It is more the way he tackles that is not convincing.

I would encourage him not to tackle, to stay on his feet."

Xhaka has started 15 Premier League games and three Champions League matches this season.

Olivier Giroud’s response when asked how Arsenal striker has improved

Olivier Giroud has expressed his delight at being able to score important late goals to help Arsenal remain on course in the Premier League title race.

The France international fell down the pecking order at the start of the 2016-17 Premier League season after Arsene Wenger opted to start with Alexis Sanchez in a centre-forward role this term. 

However, Giroud has managed to force his way into the Arsenal manager’s first-team after a series of vital late goals against Sunderland and Manchester United on the road.

The 28-year-old centre-forward started his first Premier League game of the season when he scored a late winner in a 1-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion before Giroud went on to find the back of the net in goals against Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Preston North End and Swansea City. 

Speaking to Arsenal’s website about his form in the current campaign, Giroud explained what has changed about his game this season. 

 “I’ve obviously improved myself since I signed for Arsenal, but I always try to be stronger [physically] and stronger in my head as well.

“It’s never easy to be injured and as I told you, to watch the game in front when you are injured and you can’t play is frustrating. That’s why I was so happy to come back on the pitch after these injuries.

“I’ve always tried to bring something to the team and I was very pleased to score important goals, especially in the final minutes. 

But as I’ve said before, we need to be stronger at the beginning of the games because I’m not going to score goals in the last minute every week!”

Aston Villa to secure loan deal for Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom

Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom has reportedly emerged as a loan target for Aston Villa. 

Akpom remained at the Emirates Stadium during the summer in a bid to break into the first team, but he has only featured in the EFL Cup tie with Nottingham Forest. 

It has led to the 21-year-old being made available during the January transfer window and according to the Birmingham Mail, Villa are keen on taking the forward to the West Midlands.

If completed, the transfer would see manager Steve Bruce reunited with a player who made 35 appearances for Hull City during their promotion-winning year during the 2014-15 campaign.

After making his Arsenal debut in September 2013, Akpom has only added another three matches to his tally in the Premier League.