Former Tottenham Hotspur winger Andros Townsend has claimed that Arsenal's Granit Xhaka has been unfairly criticized in recent seasons.
Xhaka led Switzerland out on the field in his 108th senior cap for his country and helped them to a 1-0 win against Cameroon on November 24.
The win puts the Swiss national team first in Group G of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with Brazil taking on Serbia later today.
Xhaka played a simple pass to former Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri, who found Breel Embolo with an immaculate pass.
The Cameroonian-born AS Monaco forward made no mistake with his finish and fired his team in front in the 48th minute.
Commentating on ITV while the game was going on, Townsend noted (h/t The Boot Room):
"He’s had some unfair criticism but whenever I’ve played against him I’ve had a tough game. He has a huge influence at Arsenal."
Xhaka was the center of controversy in Arsenal's 2-2 league draw against Crystal Palace on October 27. He reacted angrily to a section of Gunners fans cheering when he was being substituted in the 67th minute and stormed down the tunnel straightaway.
Three days later, manager Unai Emery stripped him of his captaincy. It was the crescendo of the constant criticism that Xhaka was subjected to for his sub-par performances at Arsenal.
Xhaka remained at the club despite the struggles and has slowly gone on to become a key cog in a potentially title-winning team.
He has three goals and as many assists in 14 league games this campaign under manager Mikel Arteta, with the Gunners top of the Premier League table.
Arsenal and Switzerland star gives verdict on Germany's OneLove protest
Switzerland, like Germany, were set to see their captain wear the "One Love" armband for their opening 2022 FIFA World Cup game.
However, FIFA sent a warning stating that any players spotted wearing the armband would be booked or sanctioned further.
As a result, the Germans and the Swiss, along with other countries, dropped their plans to wear the armband altogether.
When asked if Switzerland should replicate the gesture as a sign of protest before their game against Cameroon, Xhaka stated (h/t Metro):
"We need to respect the rules and concentrate on our football, that’s all I intend to do. ‘We’re here to play football and not hand out lessons to anyone."