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Charlie Nicholas believes Arsenal boss Unai Emery has no option but to drop Granit Xhaka for Sunday’s clash against Aston Villa.
The Swiss midfielder has come in for fierce criticism so far this term after putting in a number of below-par performances.
Xhaka played a full 90 minutes in Arsenal’s 3-0 win against Frankfurt in Germany on Thursday and Emery is expected to freshen up his side for the visit of Villa.
Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi could both come back into the side and Nicholas says it’s time for Xhaka to be dropped.
‘They must get more from Nicolas Pepe and he must be match fit now,’ said Nicholas. ‘Pepe needs to use his trickery and pace to help Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Unai Emery must stick with Reiss Nelson or Joe Willock. ‘How can you make sense of the defence? I don’t know who will partner David Luiz.
It doesn’t matter whether there are one or two midfielders protecting the back four and I think it is time to leave Granit Xhaka out of the side.’
Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead against Watford in their last Premier League match. Nicholas is expecting plenty of goals at the Emirates but says Arsenal have enough firepower to overcome Villa.
‘There are a lot of goals for Arsenal at home. Dani Ceballos must play and Mesut Ozil too – they moved it around well last week,’ said Nicholas.
‘I like Mateo Guendouzi but he is young, naïve and gets attracted to the ball. They need to sort themselves out in defence and if they are not good enough, you leave them out. Put Lucas Torreira in front of midfield.’