Granit Xhaka was a center back for the day after David Luiz was sent off in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.
The Swiss midfielder’s tumultuous season is most certainly in heady territory since Mikel Arteta was hired in December.
Xhaka was ebullient after the Gunners twice came back following Luiz’s red card, which preceded a Jorginho penalty.
“We played very well after the red card,” Xhaka beamed. “So difficult, but we showed great team spirit.”
“I am proud,” the manager said. “I said to them I believe they can get back in the game and I’m very pleased. … Tonight is going to be a great experience for (the young players) as in football anything can happen.”
He went on to discuss the Gunners oft-debated character, as the 10th place Gunners sit 10 points behind fourth place Chelsea and will finish the match week at least four points off fifth.
“After this game nobody will have to speak about us: We showed big character,” Xhaka said. “A lot of people say we have no character in the team, so after this game we showed we have.”
Arsenal visits Bournemouth this weekend in the FA Cup, and will like the look of their next two Premier League fixtures at Burnley and home to Newcastle.
The Top Four is a longshot, but you wouldn’t bet against the Gunners’ attack surging them into or near fifth. Baby steps.