Granit Xhaka allowed a bad habit to take hold as Arsenal allowed Tottenham to take the lead in the first half of the game, but he later atoned for his transgression by scoring to win the North London Derby.
Before Spurs visited their local rivals on Saturday afternoon, the midfielder’s stellar play in the early games of the season helped the Gunners take the top spot in the Premier League. In the 3-0 victory over Brentford, Granit Xhaka was given the captain’s armband and was exhibiting the composure that eluded him for much of his up-and-down tenure with Arsenal.
Granit Xhaka Made A Costly Mistake After Halftime
As Mikel Arteta’s team conceded a penalty with 30 seconds left in the derby, the Swiss were at fault. Granit Xhaka should have cleared the ball instead of attempting to play a bouncing ball backwards while in his penalty area.
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Richarlison of the Spurs pounced on the lost ball, nearly got fouled by Granit Xhaka, and was eventually hauled down by Gabriel, who had been his teammate’s intended recipient of the errant pass. Harry Kane converted his penalty through the centre with ease from a distance of 12 yards.
After Thomas Partey gave the hosts the lead with a strong, bending shot from deep outside the penalty area, the England captain’s goal tied the game for Spurs. Fortunately for Granit Xhaka, Hugo Lloris made a costly mistake just after halftime, allowing Gabriel Jesus to score twice to give Arsenal a two-goal advantage.
Arsenal was on the verge of yet another top-flight victory to extend their advantage at the top of the league when Xhaka connected with Gabriel Martinelli and finished powerfully into the bottom corner, setting up thunderous celebrations around the Emirates.
David Seaman, a Highbury icon, advised Xhaka to “keep his head” against Tottenham before his moment of insanity and subsequent goal. The former England goalkeeper said in a podcast by Seaman Says: “Keep your head, Xhaka, when you mention Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, the two midfielders for Spurs.
Granit Xhaka responded well with his well-taken goal and, as always, was an imposing presence in the midfield. He will be disappointed, though, to have played a significant part in the events leading up to Gabriel giving away the penalty. Despite Antonio Conte making many substitutes in an effort to score a goal to cut the gap in half, the Gunners had little issue surviving the final 23 minutes at the Emirates, and their triumph put them four points clear at the top.