A series of high-profile errors and needless red cards made the Swiss international a villain at the Emirates Stadium in 2019. Xhaka was even stripped of the captaincy following his angry reaction to being substituted. The Guardian reported that the midfielder goaded supporters after being booed off.
However, the midfielder has played a starring role for the Gunners this term, with two goals and three assists in eight Premier League games so far. Xhaka's turnaround was all but complete as he scored Arsenal's third goal in their 3-1 win over arch-rivals Tottenham on Saturday (October 1).
Despite seeing his old side lose a crucial north London derby, Sherwood was full of praise for the tenacious midfielder. He stated (as per HITC Sport):
“I love it when you have got a character like that. I absolutely thought he was finished once the armband went down. I thought there was absolutely no way back for him."
“He has knuckled down. He has found a manager who he likes now, he really wants to play for the team, he drives them on, he is playing in a more advanced role now.”
Former Arsenal defender describes Granit Xhaka as 'complete midfielder'
Xhaka's revival in recent times has been a major factor in Arsenal's incredible start to the season as they currently sit at the top of the table. The Gunners have won seven of their first eight games and ended Spurs' unbeaten run in the Premier League this season.
Before the clash at the Emirates Stadium, Bacary Sagna was full of praise for the all-round midfielder. The former Gunners defender told Lord Ping:
"He is a key player for Arsenal. He has been at the club for a number of years now. He has faced a lot of criticism during the time that he has been there, which wouldn’t have been easy for him and his family. We know that he picks up a lot of cards but I think some of those have been harsh and based on his reputation."
"He is a fighter and I like the way he plays. He has personality and is always looking to take the ball. He is a natural leader. I like his attitude. He gets angry when he loses a match – Arsenal need players like him. You can see his frustration when he loses a game and he isn’t afraid to speak his mind."
Poll : Who will top Group G in FIFA World Cup 2022?