Arsene Wenger has admitted he has been surprised by new signing Granit Xhaka’s goals against Hull City and Nottingham Forest. The Switzerland international notched up his first two goals for the club after two superb strikes from long-range.
Xhaka opened his Arsenal account with an eye-catching shot from range to cap off a 4-1 win over Hull City on Saturday and took to Instagram after the game to admit it was a goal that he would never forget.
The 23-year-old then followed that up with another thunderbolt during the EFL Cup third round victory over Nottingham Forest on Tuesday at the City Ground. When asked after the game if he knew Xhaka was capable of such goals, Wenger admitted it had come as something of a surprise.
“Honestly, not really,” he admitted to the Evening Standard. “I knew he had a good shot. But he played very deep last year [at Borussia Moenchengladbach] and didn’t get forward a lot.
“But I hope that will give him the taste for more. It’s great for him to get confidence as well and to know that he can score goals.”
Xhaka’s goals have enhanced calls for him to start for Arsenal having failed to make the starting XI for the last three games against Hull City, Paris Saint-Germain and Southampton with Wenger having preferred Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin instead.
Whether the Switzerland international has done enough to convince Wenger to start him against Chelsea remains to be seen although the Arsenal boss did hint he could make changes for the visit of Antonio Conte’s men to the Emirates on Saturday evening.
“The performance [against Nottingham Forest] shows that the players who played at Hull need to be on their toes and that’s what we want – competition for places,” he told the Evening Standard.
“The performance shows that competition exists, really.”