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Unai Emery says 26-year-old star is 'very important' to Arsenal


Unai Emery says 26-year-old star is very important to Arsenal

Emery backs Xhaka amid criticism

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has said that Granit Xhaka remains an integral part of the first-team plans despite the recent blunder committed against Tottenham Hotspur.

The Gunners played out a 2-2 draw against Spurs before the international break and one of the goals conceded came from a penalty gifted by Xhaka following a reckless challenge on Heung-min Son.

That incident led to plenty to criticism over the midfielder's performance but Emery has insisted that the Switzerland international remains a very important player under his tutelage.

"He gives us very good balance in the middle with the ball and without the ball. He’s very important for us. We can talk about the defects of any player, for him too, but we can speak about the very positive performances he gives us in most matches," he told.

Xhaka is expected to start in midfield in this evening's league showdown against Watford. He is likely to be accompanied by young midfielder Matteo Guendouzi, who had a stellar game against Spurs before the international break.