Arsene Wenger has backed Granit Xhaka to adapt to the Premier League very fast and make a difference for Arsenal ahead of their opener against Liverpool at the Emirates. The Gunners signed the Swiss international from Borussia Monchengladbach earlier in the summer and the midfielder has been part of the north London club's pre-season squad where he has excelled in the middle.
Xhaka is expected to start alongside Mohamed Elneny or Francis Coquelin in the middle of the park against a rampant Liverpool side, who are coming into the game on the back of a 4-0 thumping of Barcelona in pre-season. Jurgen Klopp's teams are known for their persistent pressing high up the pitch and Xhaka and co have to draw up a strategy to foil their plans, especially with a lack of options at the back.
"He has not played in the Premier League yet but I'm confident he will adapt very quickly because he is very keen and he wants to work and wants to become a top-level player," said Wenger, as quoted by the Mirror. "His attitude is spot on, so when the attitude is as it is at the moment, the player's adaption is very fast.
"He has done extremely well from the start. He looks to be a very motivated and focused player, with good leadership qualities as well. He is a left-footed player, the quality of his pass is top level and he will help us improve our technical level."
The Gunners are extremely light at the back and may have to give new signing Rob Holding his league debut, despite the defender having played a handful of Championship fixtures with Bolton in the second half of last season. Per Mertesacker is out till the end of the year with a knee injury while Gabriel is also unavailable for the next six to weeks following a twisted ankle in Arsenal's pre-season win over Manchester City.
Laurent Koscielny is not available for selection after being given an extended break following his travails at the Euros with France, leaving the Gunners with Calum Chambers as the senior-most player at the back. Coquelin may be asked to slot in at the back in the absence of so many stars while the Gunners look to complete a deal for Skhodran Mustafi.