Granit Xhaka praises ‘special’ Mikel Arteta as the Arsenal star reveals the boss’s mad devotion to the Gunners’ tactical plans

GRANIT XHAKA praised ‘very special’ Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta and his tactical plan for every letter of the alphabet.

Arteta has transformed the club from top to bottom since taking charge in December 2019.

Arsenal fly high at the top of the Premier League

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Arsenal fly high at the top of the Premier LeagueCredit: GETTY
Manager Mikel Arteta has drastically changed the Gunners in the three years since his appointment

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Manager Mikel Arteta has drastically changed the Gunners in the three years since his appointmentPhoto credit: REX
Gunners ace Granit Xhaka credits the Spaniard with the club's major turnaround

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Gunners ace Granit Xhaka credits the Spaniard with the club’s major turnaroundCredit: GETTY

The Gunners now sit five points clear at the top of the Prem with a game in hand over second-placed Manchester City.

And midfielder Xhaka said: “I’ve had many coaches in my career, but never one like Arteta.

“He just seems to focus on football 24 hours a day.

“He always has a plan A, B… even a plan Z.

“But he’s not only top tactically, he’s also top person. He is very special.”

Some fans claimed Arteta’s head after Arsenal lost their first three Prem games last season and eventually lost a Champions League spot – despite winning the FA Cup in his first season in charge.

But now the club are chasing their first title since Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles in 2004.

Xhaka, who also turned his Arsenal career around after coming close to retiring following his 2019 bust with fans, added: “This is his first-ever stint as head coach.

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“Some were already at the end of their patience.

“But now you see what can happen when you give a coach time.”

Arteta persuaded Xhaka, 30, to stay at Arsenal after former boss Unai Emery stripped him of the captaincy following backlash from fans.

And a fitter, leaner Xhaka has been one of the Gunners’ most consistent players this season.

He has scored three Prem goals and added five assists – and put in another fine display in Sunday’s 3-2 win over Manchester United.

This after Arteta changed the Swiss star’s role in his team and gave him a license to roam.

Mikel Arteta managed to get the most out of the hothead Granit Xhaka

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Mikel Arteta managed to get the most out of the hothead Granit XhakaPhoto credit: AFP

Arteta, 40, revealed: “I spoke to him at the end of the season and said, ‘I have to unlock something in your brain.

“‘You feel so comfortable and confident in this area that you forgot that what’s going to win us the game is actually here.

“‘The team is requesting someone here now so I have to do something about it unless you unlock this.’

“He took it straight away. He’s a very intelligent player.

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“He came into the pre-season fitter than ever and leaner than ever.

“He knew we had to change his role to take the team to another level.”

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/7217892/arsenal-news-mikel-arteta-xhaka/ Granit Xhaka praises ‘special’ Mikel Arteta as the Arsenal star reveals the boss’s mad devotion to the Gunners’ tactical plans

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