Granit Xhaka pictured with Arsenal squad on pre-match walk around Manchester
Posted by  badge Boss on Apr 26, 2023 - 09:50PM
The midfielder appears to be over his illness (Pictures: Eamonn and James Clarke)

Granit Xhaka looks set to be fit and available for Arsenal’s massive title showdown against after travelling with the rest of the squad to the north-west.

The Switzerland international missed Friday night’s dramatic 3-3 draw against Southampton at the Emirates due to illness and had been a doubt for Wednesday’s trip to the Etihad.

‘Granit has been out,’ said Mikel Arteta when asked about the availability of the experienced midfielder. ‘Hopefully he will be able to train [on Tuesday] but he is still a doubt.’

Xhaka appears to have shaken off the illness and was the first player off the team bus when it arrived outside The Hyatt Hotel in Manchester.

He then joined the squad on their customary walk around the city on Wednesday morning – something they always do before away games – laughing and joking with team-mates Ben White and Martin Odegaard.

Every other fit and available player was accounted for on the pre-match stroll, though William Saliba and Mohamed Elneny were not present and remain sidelined.

‘There’s not been a real improvement, unfortunately for him,’ said Arteta of Saliba’s injury.

‘So, we are still waiting. We are still hopeful but obviously, it’s another week that has gone by and he hasn’t been able to train with the team.’

The Arsenal squad took a walk around Manchester (Picture: Eamonn and James Clarke)

On whether Arsenal might have to prepare for the possibility of Saliba not playing again this season, Arteta continued: ‘Well at the moment we don’t have him.

‘We are preparing for this game without him and the next game, obviously, it’ll probably come too soon as well. We have to go week by week for the moment.’

Arsenal have failed to keep a clean sheet since Saliba’s injury and have shipped seven goals in their last three Premier League matches, forfeiting two-goal leads against Liverpool and West Ham before conceding three times at home to bottom-of-the-table Southampton.

There had been suggestions Arteta might switch up his formation given Arsenal’s poor form and the enormous task they face in trying to stop a free-flowing City attack and Premier League top scorer Erling Haaland.

Asked if he would modify his side’s approach, he said: ‘That’s what we do every game in certain areas. Are we talking in ball possession or talking out of possession, in transition moments? Are we talking about the restart? Are we talking about set pieces? Are we talking about the emotional state? You have to shift it all the time.

‘Every opponent demands and questions you differently and gives you different opportunities, and this is no different with that team. Obviously, the quality of the opponent is as good as it gets anywhere in the world, that’s for sure.’


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