Ray Parlour has come to the defence of under-fire Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka, telling talkSPORT: ‘He is a good player!’
Xhaka was absolutely slaughtered for his performance in Sunday’s north London derby as the Gunners fought back to draw 2-2 with rivals Tottenham.
After Christian Eriksen’s early opener, Xhaka gifted Spurs a two-goal lead by giving away a penalty with a brainless tackle on Heung-min Son, which Harry Kane put away.
Fortunately for the Switzerland international, strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang both found the net as Arsenal rescued a point at the Emirates, but fans and pundits were left frustrated by another moment of madness from their new skipper.
A number of Gunners legends also spoke out against the midfielder following the game, with Paul Merson saying he brings nothing to the team and Martin Keown blasting his defensive ability, claiming the captain could be out of the side if his performances don’t improve quickly.
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Keown even likened Xhaka’s poor tackling to ‘a fire engine that turns up and discovers the house has already burned down – he’s that late’.
But fellow ‘Invincible’ Ray Parlour believes the criticism of Xhaka is too harsh and insists he just had a bad 90 minutes.
Speaking on Wednesday’s Sports Breakfast, he said: “Xhaka is good on the ball, he’s decent!
“He can spray passes 25 or 30 yards no problem, he’s very good at doing that.
“Sometimes he fits in and keeps it simple, but at the weekend he didn’t have a good game.
“You know when you’ve not had a good game as a player and I’m sure he knew that at the end but he’s got to get back now, he’s skipper, he can’t let it worry him.
“Xhaka has just got to calm down sometimes, he’s got to be a bit cleverer, you’ve got to be clever as a player.
“When you’re captain you can’t make mistakes like he did and give the other team opportunities to score goals.
“For the penalty, it was a really poor decision from him to go in like that. You can’t just dive in like that. He’s got to learn from that, he’s got to be a bit more disciplined.”