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To be honest, Granit Xhaka was a doubt for the Arsenal match against Manchester City on Wednesday night, thanks to an ongoing injury problem.
In the days building up to the match, the Mirror reported that Mikel Arteta will need to make a late decision on whether to include Granit Xhaka in his starting lineup against Manchester City on Wednesday. Though the midfielder was in training this week, he is managing a fitness issue right now.
Xhaka featured in the friendly win over Charlton, but he didn’t play a minute of the following game against Brentford. He did take part in Arsenal’s final training session ahead of the City game, though.
But it was always clear that as long as he’s available, Xhaka would likely make the lineup. Arteta reportedly wanted to start the 27-year-old alongside Dani Ceballos in midfield.
It’s not exactly ideal to have injury concerns going into the first game of the restart. Particularly with Xhaka, who started every league game in 2020 under Arteta. In fact, the only Premier League match he missed under new management was the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Arsenal do have players available to cover for him, if necessary. But the fact is Matteo Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are both unlikely to start if Xhaka is fit, but they’ll hope to take his place if he isn’t.