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Under-fire Xhaka gets backing from Partey, Sokratis – Soccer News


Granit Xhaka has received the backing of team-mates past and present after his calamitous error against Burnley.

The Swiss midfielder was at fault for the Clarets’ leveller in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Turf Moor, directing an attempted pass into the midriff of Chris Wood, with the ball diverting into the net.

Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Xhaka has made eight errors leading to goals in the top flight, which is more than any other outfield Premier League player.

He looked set to head into Thursday’s Europa League clash at Olympiacos with criticism ringing in his ears, having felt compelled to issue an apology on Instagram.

But the 28-year-old has since been showered with praise by Thomas Partey and ex-Gunner Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who is now with Olympiacos.

“I think he’s a great player,” said Partey. “We all know he works hard for the club, he works hard for his team-mates when he’s on the pitch.

“As we all know in football, you never know when you’re going to have a bad day and that’s part of it.

“We have to keep raising each other, keep fighting for each other and that’s how we’re going to have a good game and win matches.

“All the players know what we have to do when we play together. It doesn’t matter who we play with, we have to do our best and win games.”

Striking a similar tone to Partey, Sokratis – who joined Arsenal in 2018 and left in January this year – offered a glowing tribute to his former team-mate.

“Granit is one of the best team-mates I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Sokratis told Football London.

“He’s a very important player for Arsenal and I believe that he’s a good player who can be a leader in the team.

“When you make one mistake everybody will go against you, but I know Granit’s character. Before the Burnley game he played five or six games where he was probably the best player in the team.

“I think he’s one of Arsenal’s best players and certainly one of the best midfielders that I’ve played with.”

In between Arsenal’s two-legged round-of-16 clash with Olympiacos, Mikel Arteta’s side have the small matter of Sunday’s north London derby with Tottenham.





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