The Switzerland international is without question one of the most divisive characters in Arsenal’s recent history when it comes to the perception of him from the fans
The Swiss star’s ability to strike a ball cleanly was on full display last weekend when he bagged a rocket of a goal during the home clash against top four rivals Manchester United:. Xhaka’s goal came at a time when the Gunners were under the cosh trying to preserve their 2-1 lead against the Red Devils.
The 29-year-old stepped up when his side needed him most and lashed a thunderous strike beyond the despairing dive of David de Gea: with the kind of power Okonkwo has conceded can be quite daunting trying to stop. Long range strikes are a rarity at the Emirates but Xhaka is one of the few players in: Mikel Arteta’s: side who has that trait within his armoury.
Pressed on who has the most powerful strike in the: Arsenal: team, Okonkwo told: Goal: : “The hardest shot? Eddie Nketiah can hit the ball. Granit: [Xhaka] as well. He does not do much finishing so I always forget about him, but when he does, you know about it! I would say those are the people to be afraid of in training. “Xhaka is hardly famed for his finishing ability, but powerful long-distance shooting has become something of a trademark.
The young Gunners shot-stopper has found first-team minutes incredibly difficult to come by and his only senior appearances so far have come in pre-season friendslies. First-choice keeper Aaron Ramsdale and his deputy Bernd Leno are above Okonkwo in the shot-stopping pecking order at the Emirates.
Xhaka, meanwhile, has endured one of the most turbulent relationships any: Premier League: player has ever had with his own supporters since joining the Gunners in the summer of 2016. After being jeered by the Emirates crowd as he made his way off in 2019, the Switzerland international has seemingly come full circle in the eyes of the Arsenal fanbase.
The midfielder himself recently opened up on his complicated relationship with the Arsenal faithful and admitted that the bulk of the criticism sent in his direction nowadays comes from online rather on the terraces.
Speaking to: The Players’ Tribune:, Xhaka claimed: “Of course, it’s quiet when we win. But as soon as we lose a few games, the same critics will be back. This is how football works. But I will not change for some guy who is hiding behind a keyboard. No chance .It’s a bit funny because, in real life, nobody has ever said to me, ‘You are s ***.’ Never. ”
Xhaka looked to be on the verge of leaving Arsenal on several occasions, but was convinced to stay by Arteta who clearly regards him as a hugely important individual.