After Arsenal's comfortable 3-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday night, Mikel Arteta hinted that Granit Xhaka could be utilised in a new position owing to Kieran Tierney's absence.
The Switzerland international started at left-back for the Gunners after Arteta opted to leave out Cedric Soares, who had deputised for the injured Tierney against Slavia Prague in the Europa League on Thursday.
The Portugal international was clearly being saved for the second-leg of the Europa League clash later this week, but Xhaka gave a good account of himself with an assured performance in the left fullback role.
Arteta revealed after the game that starting Xhaka at left-back was a tactical decision and praised the former Arsenal skipper for his contribution on the night and admitted that he could ask Xhaka to play in any position.
"He [Xhaka] had a specific role today for the game because we believed they were going to try to do something, and he had the right qualities to develop that role," Arteta said after the game, as quoted on the Metro.
"It's a joy to work with him because you'd ask him to play as a center-forward and he'd say, 'yeah, yeah, I'll do my best'. That's the player you want. Today he had a really strong performance, and it gives another option."
The Gunners boss went on to suggest that the Swiss midfielder could find himself in this new position on more than one occasion going into the final stretch of the campaign.
The revelation came after Arteta confirmed that Tierney could be out for the rest of the campaign following the knee injury he sustained during Arsenal's 3-0 loss to Liverpool in the Premier League on Apr. 4.
The Scotland international's absence will be a massive blow to Arsenal owing to his influence at either end of the pitch in recent months.
"Kieran is out, probably for the season, so we need different options in that position and he [Xhaka] can be one of those," Arteta added.
The North London outfit is fighting on two fronts – the Premier League and the Europa League – to ensure they play in Europe again next season and their best option seems to be the latter.
However, they face a stern test in the second-leg of the quarterfinals against Slavia Prague with the tie in the balance after a 1-1 draw in the first-leg at the Emirates Stadium.