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‘A lot of people started talking’ – Xhaka happy to silence Arsenal criticism after Chelsea display


The Gunners midfielder returned to the side after his three-game suspension and scored in the 3-1 win over Chelsea

Granit Xhaka was happy to silence his critics with his scoring performance in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day.

The Switzerland international was in his first game since being sent off against Burnley on December 13 and marked the occasion with an impressive performance as Arsenal claimed their first win in seven Premier League games.

Xhaka managed a magnificent free kick just before half-time to add to Alexandre Lacazette’s penalty and drew praise from coach Mikel Arteta for his overall performance in the heart of the midfield.

It was the perfect response from the 28-year-old, who has come under heavy criticism in recent weeks following his red card to Burnley and his inability to publicly apologize for the incident which led to a 1-0 home loss.

“There was a lot of talk after the red card,” Xhaka said. “A lot of people started talking again… and again and again.

“I will always show my character. I was very disappointed with my red card and knew what I had done was wrong for me. But I am more than happy. I helped the team and I am back.

Xhaka added: “We knew it would be a very difficult game, but we worked really well together as a team and at the moment we can only get points if we do.

“We carried out the plan the coach gave us. Press, be in focus 95 minutes. We scored at the right time and a 3-0 lead helped a lot.

Arsenal’s victory over Chelsea saw them move up to 14th place in the Premier League and six points clear of the relegation zone.

The victory was their first in the league since the 1-0 victory at Manchester United on November 1 and it helped ease the pressure on Arteta, who had been criticized for his team’s terrible form.

Arteta’s side are now heading to two crucial away games at Brighton and West Brom and Xhaka claims victory over Chelsea will count for little if they don’t follow her.

“It was very important that we have three points [against Chelsea] but we have to continue like this, ”he said.

“The next two away games are very difficult, but if we work together as a team, we have the chance to take the six points away.