Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta explains why Xhaka misses clash with Southampton


Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta with Granit Xhaka during a training session at London Colney on December 29, 2022 in St Albans, England.

Mikel Arteta has revealed the reason why Granit Xhaka was absent from Arsenal’s Premier League clash with Southampton on Friday evening.

The Swiss international was omitted from the Gunners’ matchday squad against the bottom-of-the-table due to illness. He was replaced by Portuguese Fabio Vieira alongside Thomas Partey and Martin Odegaard in midfield.

It was one of two changes to the side that drew 2-2 with West Ham last week. Oleksandr Zinchenko returned to the starting XI at left-back with Kieran Tierney dropping down to the bench.

Speaking to Sky Sports before the game, Arteta said: “Very different qualities, this morning unfortunately Granit [Xhaka] wasn’t feeling well so we had to get him out of the squad.

“That’s why we signed a player like Fabio [Vieira] – very different qualities, much more attacking player, much more of a pocket player, excited to see him in the starting line-up.”

The Gunners will be hoping to have Xhaka back for Wednesday’s crunch clash with Manchester City on Wednesday evening. The midfielder has played a starring role for the club this season, contributing to 12 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions.

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