Granit Xhaka marked his farewell appearance for Arsenal with a brace to help the Premier League runners-up finish their fine campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Wolves.

Xhaka is set to depart the Emirates this summer to join Bayer Leverkusen and signed off a rollercoaster seven years in north London on a high with a first-half double, although he did later miss a great chance for his hat-trick.

It failed to spoil the perfect goodbye for the previously much-maligned former Arsenal captain with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Jakub Kiwior also on target to ensure Mikel Arteta’s men regrouped from their title disappointment at Nottingham Forest last weekend to secure a 26th league win of the season.

While Xhaka’s impending departure had yet to be confirmed, the huge cheer that greeted his name before kick off played into the narrative this was his final Arsenal outing.

It was the latest evidence of his own remarkable turnaround with the Emirates crowd, who he had clashed with so memorable in the winter of 2019 during a match with Crystal Palace – an incident that saw him stripped of the captaincy and on the verge of leaving before Arteta’s intervention.

Xhaka immediately set about living up to his lead role with a strong tackle on Matheus Nunes a matter of seconds into the contest.

While Nunes saw a fierce effort headed away by Gabriel Jesus during the opening exchanges, it did not take long for Arsenal and their number 34 to open the scoring after 11 minutes.

Unorthodox right-back Thomas Partey passed out wide to Jesus and his whipped cross was headed home by Xhaka from close range to begin his farewell in style.

After a group celebration with his team-mates, the Swiss international held his hands out in a thank you gesture to the home fans in the Clock End.

Three minutes later and Xhaka made it 2-0 to Arsenal.

Saka dribbled past Hugo Bueno before Martin Odegaard flicked on his pass, which Wolves captain Max Kilman sliced into the path of Xhaka, who side-footed beyond Jose Sa from six yards.

Xhaka celebrated his ninth goal of the season, the best tally of his career, by running over to embrace injured midfielder Mohamed Elneny, the only player still at the club from when he joined in 2016.

Arsenal were not ready to take their foot off the gas and Arteta watched his side move into a three-goal lead in the 27th-minute.

Odegaard and Leandro Trossard exchanged passes before the latter found Saka, who checked back inside Kilman brilliantly and curled into the corner to mark his new contract with a 15th goal this season.

It should have been 4-0 soon after.

A one-two between Saka and Odegaard on the right saw the goalscorer scuff an effort across the face of goal, but Xhaka fluffed his lines from 10 yards and sliced wide with a hat-trick at his mercy.

Wolves were able to avoid any further damage before half-time and Julen Lopetegui introduced Ruben Neves and Rayan Ait-Nouri but it failed to stem the tide.

Partey had the ball in the net for Arsenal in the 52nd minute but his joy was short-lived with the goal ruled out after Ben White had barged into Wolves goalkeeper Sa.

The Gunners faithful did not have to wait too much longer for the fourth goal.

Arsenal hurt the visitors down the left this time with Trossard able to chip in for Jesus to power home a header at the back post in the 58th minute.

All that was left was Xhaka’s farewell with the midfielder substituted to a standing ovation in the 75th minute, which was followed with chants urging him to stay.

Kiwior grabbed a fifth with 12 minutes left when he lashed home from a corner that Sa should have saved before Arsenal’s season ended to the backdrop of a partisan atmosphere at a sun-soaked Emirates with the home fans hoping this is just the beginning for Arteta’s young team.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has insisted discussions over the future of Granit Xhaka will wait until the end of the season.

Xhaka has been central to the Gunners’ title bid this campaign but is approaching the final 12 months of his deal at the Emirates Stadium.

Bayer Leverkusen are interested in taking the Switzerland international back to Germany, where the midfielder played for four years with Borussia Monchengladbach before he moved to England in 2016.

It has been a rollercoaster journey for Xhaka at Arsenal but his manager is eager to finish strongly in the final two games before he switches his attention to a number of contract scenarios.

Arteta said: “The clarity is there. He is a player that has played I think every minute since I have been the manager.

“He is an incredibly respected figure at the club. He has a great story around him with what he has achieved at the club in going through very tough moments and he is a key and very important part of us.

“Whatever happens is something we will discuss, certainly not now.”

Second-placed Arsenal have faced some criticism this week after their 3-0 defeat at home to Brighton left Manchester City on the brink of a fifth Premier League victory in six years.

Pep Guardiola’s side can defend their crown this weekend if the Gunners lose at Nottingham Forest on Saturday or if City can beat Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium a day later.

Arteta, in a thinly-veiled dig at their detractors, stated they have been up against one of the best teams ever.

“We have shown this season,” Arteta replied when asked if Arsenal can be title contenders again next season.

“We’re still there, with two games to go we can still be champions against probably the best team in Premier League history.

“For 10 months we’re still there. There’s two games still to go and we’re not going to bottle that for sure.

“What happens next season will depend on what we do, how we evolve and how we start. That prediction is very difficult to do today.”

Quizzed on the level of the squad, with Champions League football to come next term, Arteta conceded improvements will need to be made before Arsenal return to Europe’s top competition.

“At the level that we want? No. We didn’t have the capacity to do that as well with the Europa League so it’s part of that evolution,” he explained.

“We have made a lot of good steps and strong steps in that journey and we have to continue. That never ends.

“We want to be better and the rest will be better, then the margins will be higher and we have to start to live with those standards and improve and be smarter.”

Arsenal received positive news on Thursday when Aaron Ramsdale agreed a new long-term deal with the club.

It will keep Ramsdale contracted to the Gunners until the summer of 2026, the PA news agency understands.

Arteta is confident the likes of Bukayo Saka, Martin Odegaard and William Saliba will follow.

He added: “Delighted with the news for Aaron. He fully deserves that new contract, that extension and we want to keep our talent at the club and we want to build on that.

“There are a few more who are very relevant for us to continue with that relationship. We’re working on that.

“We are trying (with Saliba). We are having conversations and we are trying to maintain the talent we have at the club as I said before, but things take time.

“You have to agree it. There are different parties involved. I think everybody’s intention is the same and hopefully we’ll find the right solution.”

Meanwhile, Oleksandr Zinchenko (calf) and Gabriel Martinelli (ankle) will not feature again this season.

“Gabi’s is a pretty nasty injury, we need to assess in the next week how long he’ll be out for,” Arteta said.

Josko Gvardiol won plenty of admirers during Croatia's run to the 2022 World Cup semi-finals.

The 21-year-old central defender is contracted until 2027, but has a hefty release clause that will become active in 2024.

As a result, clubs are likely to be competing to secure the Croatian's services in the next transfer window.


Manchester City and Real Madrid have both made RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol their priority centre-back target for the next transfer window, according to 90min.

The report claims Leipzig wants £75m (€85m) for the Croatian defender, who almost joined Chelsea last off-season.

City and Real are also both in contention to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, complicating the Gvardiol move.

The report also claims City are willing to offload Aymeric Laporte to help facilitate any move.



Liverpool are the favourites ahead of Manchester City in the race to sign Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount in the off-season, reports Football Insider.

Manchester United are keeping an eye on Joao Felix 's situation with the Atletico Madrid forward currently on loan at Chelsea, claims Mundo Deportivo. Chelsea have been linked with a permanent deal for the Portuguese.

– The Sun claims Leicester City are keen on re-signing Harry Maguire on loan from Manchester United amid talk he will exit Old Trafford.

Arsenal 's desire to land Dusan Vlahovic from Juventus could see the Gunners offer up Granit Xhaka and Nicolas Pepe as part of a deal, reports Calciomercatoweb.

– Fichajes claims Manchester City and Chelsea will battle it out to sign Milan full-back Theo Hernandez.

Barcelona have prioritised a move for Liverpool winger Luis Diaz in the next transfer window, according to Fichajes.

Bukayo Saka scored two and assisted another as Arsenal eased past Crystal Palace 4-1 on Sunday to move eight points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.

The Gunners were eliminated from the Europa League by Sporting CP on Thursday, but they showed no sign of a hangover against managerless London rivals Palace.

Gabriel Martinelli's 13th league goal of the season gave Arsenal the lead at Emirates Stadium and Saka, who set up that opener, added a second before half-time.

Granit Xhaka put the game out of the reach of Palace, who did pull one back through Jeffrey Schlupp, before Saka's second made certain of a sixth league win in a row.

Arsenal survived an early scare when Schlupp played in Wilfried Zaha, who cut onto his right foot and fired a low shot that hit the post in a lively start from Palace.

Joe Whitworth denied Saka at the other end, but the young keeper could not get a hand to Martinelli's impressive drilled shot across goal into the bottom-right corner.

Saka doubled Arsenal's lead shortly before half-time when exchanging passes with Ben White and coolly curling the ball away from Whitworth.

Palace were further behind 10 minutes into the second half through Xhaka's bundled finish after being played through by Leandro Trossard.

Schlupp's strike from six yards after Arsenal failed to deal with a corner gave the visiting fans something to cheer, but Saka's sharp first-time finish made certain of a routine win.

Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League after a penalty shoot-out defeat to Sporting CP in the Europa League round-of-16 at Emirates Stadium.

Granit Xhaka handed the Gunners a first-half lead but that advantage was cancelled out in spectacular style by Pote's long-range effort that sent the tie into extra time.

Adan ensured the tie went the full distance with crucial saves to deny Leandro Trossard and Gabriel Magalhaes, though Sporting finished with 10 men after Manuel Ugarte's dismissal.

Adan's heroics came again in the showdown from the spot, denying Gabriel Martinelli's attempt before Nuno Santos scored to send Sporting into the quarter-finals.

The Gunners took the lead after 19 minutes, with Xhaka playing a superb ball over the top for Martinelli to force Adan into a save but the Switzerland international was on hand to smash home the rebound.

Sporting started the second period on the front foot and found the equaliser in stunning fashion shortly after the hour mark, Pote spotting Ramsdale off his line and lobbing the England international from 46 yards out.

The Gunners stopper redeemed himself 10 minutes later, charging off his line to block Marcus Edwards' effort with his face after the former Tottenham youngster was fed through by Ricardo Esgaio.

Trossard was gifted a golden opportunity in extra time when Youssef Chermiti sloppily gave the ball away but Adan denied the Belgian and deflected his effort onto the post.

The Sporting stopper was again on hand to deny Gabriel's powerful header, the Brazilian then seeing another attempt from the following corner cleared off the line before Ugarte saw red after a second booking due to clattering into Bukayo Saka as the game headed to penalties.

With the first seven penalties of the shoot-out scored, Adan thwarted Arsenal again, diving low to his left to deny Martinelli before Nuno Santos comfortably dispatched his attempt to seal a spot in the last-eight.

Granit Xhaka has detailed his happiness at Arsenal and says the club have "something special planned" as they continue their fine campaign.

A comeback victory over West Ham on Boxing Day extended the Gunners' unbeaten run in the Premier League to nine games, with Mikel Arteta's side dropping just five points so far this term and holding a five-point lead at the top of the table.

The club have exceeded expectations with an improbable push for Premier League glory, and are reportedly eyeing further additions in the January transfer window in their bid to clinch a league title for the first time since 2004.

Xhaka has played an integral role in Arsenal's success this term, creating 22 chances and contributing four assists in 15 appearances, and has teased the club have "something special" up their sleeves.

"Of course, I'm happy that we're on a very good path at Arsenal," he told Keystone-SDA.

"I feel completely at ease and enjoy an enormous amount of confidence there. We have something special planned in London.

"We discussed everything [with Arteta about the World Cup], yes. He can read me like nobody else.

"Mikel knows what it's like to be down. He felt how hurt I was by the way I was eliminated [in Qatar]. But there are so many other challenges and tournaments. I will take those on."

The Gunners round off 2022 with a trip to face Brighton and Hove Albion, before hosting fellow high-fliers Newcastle United three days later.

Granit Xhaka admits it is a huge blow for Arsenal to lose Gabriel Jesus to injury but is confident the Gunners can compete in his absence, offering his support to likely replacement Eddie Nketiah.

Jesus suffered a knee injury in Brazil's World Cup loss to Cameroon, ruling him out of the remainder of the tournament and leading to surgery – with the expectation he will face two to three months out.

It hands Mikel Arteta a huge blow ahead of the Gunners' resumption of their Premier League title push on Boxing Day, with the former Manchester City forward quickly establishing himself as an integral member of the squad.

While Jesus faces an extended period out, Xhaka believes it is a "small injury" for him to cope with and vowed to support his teammate in his recovery.

"I spoke with him straight after the Cameroon game. We have the contact between each other, with all the players we have here in the World Cup," he told reporters.

"It's a shame because you saw in the first round of the Premier League how important he is for us. I don't know how big the injury is, maybe two or three months, I think.

"But he is a strong guy. It’s a small injury for him I think, and we will support him. He knows that we are behind him and hopefully we can get him back as quick as possible."

Jesus' injury could see Arsenal turn to Nketiah to lead the line.

Nketiah is yet to score in 12 substitute appearances in the Premier League this term but finished the last campaign strongly, earning a fresh contract after scoring five goals in the final seven top-flight matches.

Xhaka believes Nketiah has the capability to fill the void in the Gunners' attack and is "looking forward" to helping the 23-year-old in the months ahead.

"We have the option with Eddie, of course. He showed great games as well in the past and we need to support Gabi first," he added.

"We need to support Eddie as well, because he will be a big, big part of the next two or three months. But I am looking forward because we have the quality to bring Eddie there and to help him.

Arsenal resume their Premier League campaign on Boxing Day with a London derby against West Ham at the Emirates Stadium.

Granit Xhaka found himself at the centre of another controversy involving Serbia after donning a shirt with 'Jashari' on the back following Switzerland’s 3-2 win in Doha on Friday.

Xhaka produced a man of the match display as the Swiss hit back from 2-1 down to secure second place in Group G and advance to a last-16 clash with Portugal on Tuesday.

But his actions after the final whistle could attract the attention of FIFA.

In the post-match celebrations, Xhaka put on a shirt carrying the name 'Jashari'. Asked afterwards what it meant, the Arsenal midfielder claimed it was for Switzerland squad member Ardon Jashari.

However, the name carries significance in other ways with Adem Jashari a late founder of the Kosovo Liberation Army, a Kosovo Albanian separatist group that fought for independence from the former Yugoslavia.

Xhaka is of ethnic Albanian heritage linked to Kosovo, which declared independence in 2008 but has not been recognised by Serbia. 

Asked about the shirt afterwards, Xhaka said: "There’s no political background to it whatsoever.

"Ardon is part of our squad and we spend a lot of time together. I told him if we won I would wear his shirt."

Xhaka was a key figure throughout a feisty encounter. He also prompted a second-half melee that saw the Serbia bench encroach on to the pitch after making a crude gesture, thought to be in the direction of substitute goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic, whose personal life has been the subject of speculation this week.

Switzerland boss Murat Yakin said he will "wait and see" if action is taken against Xhaka.

"We will enjoy this moment, it cost us a lot of emotions and energy. It was a fair match," he said.

"Before the game a lot of people were talking about the situation but we were able to face that challenge.

"We are happy we are moving on. Everything else is speculation and we will wait and see."

On the incident involving Rajkovic, Yakin added: "What I saw was a Granit Xhaka who was focused fully on football and performed very well. I saw the players from Serbia crossing the line, and others trying to calm them down. It was a normal exchange."

It is not the first time Xhaka has been embroiled in controversy against Serbia. At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, he and Xherdan Shaqiri were fined after crossing their hands to mimic the eagle displayed on the Albanian flag in Switzerland’s 2-1 win.

Shaqiri also played his part in Switzerland's victory here, scoring the opening goal at Stadium 974, but appeared annoyed to be taken off after 69 minutes.

"No-one likes to be subbed," Yakin said. "Every player wants to play the whole game, but it’s part of my responsibility to protect players. He scored his goal and had a great assist.

"The substitutes brought great energy and I thought they did well."

The flashpoints overshadowed a wonderful game with Switzerland’s greater composure at key moments proving decisive.

Serbia coach Dragan Stojkovic praised his players but lamented the fact so many were struggling for fitness throughout their time in Qatar. He also insisted he had no intention of resigning.

He said: "We are not happy with the result but, given the problems we faced from our arrival here and the injuries we had to contend with, it was too much for us to cope with.

"The guys put up a fight but at this level that is not enough.

"As for my future, in March we start the qualifiers for the European Championship and we have a great desire to qualify."

Stojkovic claimed not to hear any of the chants that prompted an announcement over the public address system asking fans to refrain from discriminatory songs or gestures, thought to originate from sections housing Serbian supporters.

Yann Sommer's return from injury provided a boost for Switzerland as they announced their 26-man squad for the FIFA World Cup.

The Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper, who suffered an ankle injury in a DFB-Pokal defeat to Darmstadt three weeks ago, is one of four goalkeepers named in Murat Yakin’s squad, with concerns over the fitness of Sommer and Jonas Omlin.

Switzerland have named an experienced squad and will be hoping to build on their impressive performance at Euro 2020, which saw them defeat then-reigning champions France before losing on penalties to Spain in the quarter-finals.

Manchester City's Manuel Akanji and Newcastle United stalwart Fabian Schar make up an experienced centre-back combination, with Fulham’s right-back Kevin Mbabu a surprise absentee in defence.

Granit Xhaka will be looking to carry his fine early-season form with Arsenal into Qatar 2022, with the experienced midfielder selected alongside Chelsea's on-loan Denis Zakaria and new Nottingham Forest-signing Remo Freuler in the middle of the park.
Former Liverpool winger Xherdan Shaqiri, who now plays for Chicago Fire, will feature in his fourth FIFA World Cup and will be looking to add to his 108 caps for the national side. 

Galatasaray forward Haris Seferovic, who has 25 goals for Switzerland, provides experience to a forward line that also boasts the talents of Breel Embolo and Salzburg youngster Noah Okafor.

In a statement, coach Yakin said: "We were spoilt for choice in some positions.

"Many players have delivered convincing performances in recent weeks and months. But in the end, I had to limit myself to 26 names. I'm convinced that these 26 players can always help us to achieve our goals."

Switzerland begin their difficult Group G campaign on November 24 against Cameroon before facing familiar opposition in Brazil and Serbia, who were both part of the Swiss' 2018 World Cup group.

Switzerland Squad: Gregor Kobel (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Kohn (Salzburg), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier), Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach); Manuel Akanji (Manchester City), Eray Comert (Valencia), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz), Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Fabian Schar (Newcastle), Silvan Widmer (Mainz); Michel Aebischer (Bologna), Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys), Fabian Frei (Basel), Remo Freuler (Nottingham Forest), Ardon Jashari (Lucerne), Fabian Rieder (Young Boys), Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire), Djibril Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt), Renato Steffen (Lugano), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Denis Zakaria (Chelsea); Breel Embolo (Monaco), Noah Okafor (Salzburg), Haris Seferovic (Benfica, loan to Galatasaray), Ruben Vargas (Augsburg).

North London giants Tottenham and Arsenal endured frustrating outings as the Premier League saw more twists and turns on an action-packed Sunday.

Spurs' Champions League hopes suffered a blow as they were edged out by Newcastle United in the day's headline clash, with goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron helping the visitors to a 2-1 win.

That result saw Eddie Howe's side climb into the top four, and there was another surprise at the summit as leaders Arsenal were pegged back by Southampton in a 1-1 draw.

At the bottom of the table, meanwhile, Fulham increased the pressure on Leeds United boss Jesse Marsch and Leicester City leapfrogged Wolves by trouncing them 4-0 at Molineux.

Here, Stats Perform picks through the most interesting facts to emerge from Sunday's action.  

Tottenham 1-2 Newcastle United: Magnificent Magpies go fourth

Tottenham approached Sunday's match having won eight consecutive league games on home soil, but Newcastle seized the initiative with an outstanding first-half display to end that run and move within two points of Antonio Conte's team.

Hugo Lloris' bizarre error allowed Wilson to put Newcastle ahead, with the France captain hitting the deck as the striker lobbed into an unguarded net from range.

Wilson's goal was his first in the Premier League from outside the penalty area since January 2019 (for Bournemouth v West Ham), and just the second of his 65 goals in the competition to come from more than 18 yards out.

Newcastle were two goals ahead within 10 minutes of that strike, with Almiron scoring his fifth goal in his last five Premier League outings – as many as he had netted in his previous 61. 

While Harry Kane pulled one back after the break, Newcastle held on to ensure they went fourth after 12 games of the season – this is the latest point at which they have occupied such a lofty position since April 2012, when they sat fourth after 35 matches of the campaign.

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: Armstrong denies Gunners four-point lead

Arsenal went to St Mary's looking to re-establish a four-point lead over Manchester City at the summit, but saw their run of 27 Premier League games without a draw halted as they slipped up.

Granit Xhaka converted Ben White's cross to put Arsenal ahead – with four goals this season in all competitions, Xhaka is enjoying his joint-best goalscoring campaign with the Gunners, and he has scored in back-to-back games for the club for just the second time (also in September 2016).

However, Stuart Armstrong replied with his first goal in 21 league games as the Saints fought back – each of his last seven Premier League goals have now come at St Mary's.

Arsenal were unable to find a late winner, meaning they dropped points after opening the scoring in a Premier League game for the first time since New Year's Day (1-2 v City), ending their run of 18 straight wins when scoring first.

Wolves 0-4 Leicester City: Lethal Foxes leapfrog sorry hosts

At Molineux, Wolves' nightmare campaign continued as a clinical Leicester side ran out 4-0 winners despite recording just five shots to their hosts' 21.

Wolves have now lost five of their last six Premier League games, failing to score four times during that run, and are enduring their worst ever goalscoring start to a season in the competition with just five goals in 12 games. 

Leicester took the lead through an incredible effort from Youri Tielemans, who picked out the top-left corner to score the Foxes' seventh goal from outside the penalty area this season – the most of any side in the Premier League.

Harvey Barnes, Jamie Vardy and James Maddison then added some gloss to the scoreline, with the latter doing his hopes of an England call-up no harm with another fine display.

Maddison has amassed 28 goal contributions in the Premier League since the start of last season, a tally only bettered by Kane (37) among English players.

Leeds United 2-3 Fulham: Pressure builds on Marsch as Willian shines

Leeds joined Wolves in the bottom three after Fulham dealt them a fourth consecutive Premier League defeat at Elland Road, piling more pressure on beleaguered boss Marsch. 

Leeds have collected nine points from their 11 games this season, their fewest at this stage of a campaign since 2003-04 (eight), when they went on to be relegated from the Premier League. 

Meanwhile, Fulham have posted back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since April 2019 under Scott Parker (a run of three), having failed to win consecutive matches at any point in their last top-flight season (in 2020-21).

Willian's 84th-minute strike ultimately proved decisive for Marco Silva's men, on the day the former Chelsea and Arsenal winger made his 264th Premier League appearance.

Among Brazilian players, only Manchester City great Fernandinho has appeared as often in the competition. 

Arsenal missed the chance to regain their four-point lead at the Premier League summit after Stuart Armstrong's second-half equaliser held the Gunners to a 1-1 draw at Southampton.

The Gunners had enjoyed their best start to a top-flight campaign and dominated the first half on Sunday at St. Mary's Stadium, with Granit Xhaka opening the scoring.

Arsenal continued to look good value for their lead, with Gabriel Jesus spurning a couple of chances, but Southampton fought back as Armstrong levelled in the 65th minute.

Martin Odegaard saw a late strike ruled out as Arsenal moved two points clear of second-placed Manchester City, while Southampton extended their unbeaten run to three games and climbed into 15th.

Gavin Bazunu denied a fizzing Xhaka drive and Odegaard whipped narrowly wide, though Arsenal's early dominance soon paid dividends after 11 minutes.

Ben White overlapped down the right and clipped in a low centre for Xhaka, who expertly fired into the roof of the net.

Jesus almost doubled the lead but blasted just wide and should have sent Arsenal in two goals ahead at half-time when he volleyed straight at Bazunu one-on-one following a smart Xhaka throughball.

A last-ditch Mohamed Elyounoussi thwarted Jesus after the interval before the midfielder teed up Armstrong at the other end, with the Scotland international sliding past Aaron Ramsdale.

Odegaard thought he had grabbed a late winner, only for the assistant to flag for a goal-kick after Kieran Tierney failed to keep the ball in play in the build-up.

What does it mean? In-form Gunners falter

Arsenal's failure to grind out wins was a regular flaw in recent seasons, yet they went some way to easing those concerns with some resolute performances in the nine victories from their opening 10 league games.

Mikel Arteta's side appeared set to earn yet another narrow triumph, though an underwhelming second-half showing – coupled with a lack of clinical finishing – saw them drop points for just the second time this season.

With Chelsea to follow in November and City showing no signs of relenting in their title pursuit, Arteta will be frustrated to drop points at Southampton, who had lost seven of their last 11 Premier League home games.

Great Granit

Xhaka's impressive form for the Gunners continued as the Switzerland international scored his fourth goal in all competitions this season, matching his best return for Arsenal in a single campaign.

The Gunners have never lost in 18 games when Xhaka has scored (W15 D3), though Arsenal will be frustrated to not leave the south coast with victory here.

Jesus fails to deliver

Jesus has been a leading figure within a new-look Arsenal side, blending his hard-work ethic with an eye for goal up top, though the Brazil international failed to fire for the Gunners at Southampton.

The forward attempted a game-high four shots but only found the target with one of those, squandering presentable opportunities in either half in a disappointing showing.

What's next?

Arsenal head to PSV in the Europa League on Thursday before hosting Nottingham Forest on Sunday, while Southampton visit Crystal Palace the day before.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says qualification for the Europa League's knockout stages is simply "the first step" following their 1-0 win over PSV, with the Spaniard already focused on winning Group A.

Granit Xhaka's 70th-minute volley ensured the Gunners secured a top-two finish with two games to spare on Thursday, as they were rewarded for their patience against a solid opponent at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal have now won their first four games of a Europa League campaign for just the second time, having also done so in 2020-21, and can seal first place with a draw in next week's return fixture against the Eredivisie giants.

With group winners earning a bye straight through to the competition's last-16 and avoiding further fixture congestion in the new year with a playoff round, Arteta knows the importance of finishing the job at hand.

"We had really good moments, and we were really dominant against a really good side," he told BT Sport.

"I think we just lacked that final pass or shot. But we're very happy to win the game, and we [have] qualified, which is the first step.

"In Europe, you have to control the opponent. They are very talented, used to winning and the amount of goals they have scored is incredible. We were really composed and mature.

"When you have the chance in Europe, you have to take it. The difference between finishing first and second is big, and we want to get the job done."

Meanwhile, Arsenal and England supporters were dealt a scare when Bukayo Saka went down in the second half, but Arteta eased any fears of an injury layoff, adding: "I think he will be okay."

After beating Walter Benitez to decide the contest, Xhaka has now scored as many goals this campaign (three) as in his previous three seasons combined, while Thursday's goal represented his first for the Gunners to not be scored with his left foot.

The midfielder highlighted the importance of Arsenal maintaining their momentum in his own post-match interview with BT Sport, saying: "I'm so happy the ball came, and happy I scored. 

"I don't know when I scored for the last time with the right foot, maybe it's the first in my career, but I'm so happy! It doesn't matter which foot, or who scores, as long as we keep winning.

"It gives us confidence and onto the next one. When you win games, you have to be happy. Everything is going well at the moment, but for us it is not a surprise, we're doing a lot of work. 

"In the end, you win and lose as a team and at the moment we are very dangerous. We wanted to go through after this game and we are very happy."

Granit Xhaka's volley ensured Arsenal secured qualification for the Europa League's knockout stages with two games to spare, firing the Gunners to a 1-0 home win over PSV.

Mikel Arteta selected a strong side as Arsenal looked to ensure their progression from Group A on Thursday, but PSV appeared likely to make them wait after producing a resolute defensive display.

Walter Benitez kept Arsenal at bay until the 70th minute, but Xhaka expertly diverted a right-wing delivery into the bottom-left corner to seal the hosts' progress.

While Arsenal are now assured of a place in the Europa League's knockout stages, a point in next week's return fixture will guarantee them top spot and a bye to the competition's round of 16.

Xhaka and Gabriel Jesus both dragged left-footed efforts wide as Arsenal laid siege to PSV's goal in the early exchanges, with Kieran Tierney also sending a wild volley over.

Fabio Vieira then whipped a free-kick wide of the bottom-left corner after 41 minutes, with Arteta's team failing to manage a shot on target before the break as PSV stood firm.

Arsenal improved after the restart, but Benitez made an excellent one-on-one save to deny Bukayo Saka after 53 minutes before turning Jesus' effort away following a slaloming run from the Brazilian.

Eddie Nketiah then smashed an effort narrowly wide of the left-hand post.

But just when Arsenal appeared to be running out of ideas, Xhaka had the final say.

The Switzerland international swivelled on Takehiro Tomiyasu's delivery to drill a right-footed effort beyond the dive of Benitez from just inside the area, ensuring Arsenal's progress.

Joao Felix is increasingly frustrated with life at Atletico Madrid after dropping out of the starting XI in recent games.

The 22-year-old Portuguese is yet to score for the side in LaLiga or the Champions League this season and was an unused substitute in the midweek 0-0 draw with Club Brugge.

Atleti boss Diego Simeone has preferred Antoine Griezmann, Alvaro Morata, Matheus Cunha and Angel Correa in attack recently.



Joao Felix has requested to leave Atletico Madrid in January, reports Fichajes.

The forward is frustrated that he has been used sparingly, largely outside the starting XI this term.

Joao Felix's contract runs until 2026 and it will likely require a hefty fee to sign him from Atleti, who paid €126 million for him in 2019.

Relevo claims that Atleti are not considering selling the Portuguese any time soon.



– ​ Frenkie de Jong is growing frustrated at his lack of first-team opportunities at Barcelona and will look to exit the club in January should the situation not improve, claims SPORT. De Jong was at the centre of a drawn-out off-season saga, amid links to Manchester United.

Granit Xhaka will earn a contract extension at Arsenal, reports Football Insider. Xhaka, who is out of contract in 2024, has been in top form this term and will be rewarded after the World Cup.

Chelsea have an interest in RB Leipzig's Austria international midfielder Konrad Laimer, reports Bild. Laimer is out of contract at the end of this season and the Blues will look to sign him for free if he is not sold in January.

Chelsea along with Arsenal are now also keen on pursuing Rennes winger Jeremy Doku, claims Fichajes. The 20-year-old is already being chased by Liverpool, Napoli and Juventus.

– Bild also claims Chelsea are monitoring versatile Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard.

– The Telegraph reports Thomas Tuchel is interested in the England managerial role should Gareth Southgate depart after this year's World Cup. The German has reportedly declined two Premier League jobs since leaving Chelsea last month.

Football loves a redemption story, and it's fair to say Granit Xhaka is living one right now.

You don't have to cast your mind back too far to recall a time when the Switzerland international was practically persona non grata at Arsenal – in the fans' eyes, anyway.

Red cards, becoming a scapegoat, falling out with the supporters in the most public way imaginable: Xhaka's Arsenal career has rarely been straightforward.

And yet, as Mikel Arteta's Gunners prepare to make something of a title statement against Liverpool on Sunday, Xhaka knows his will be one of the first names on the team, and deservedly so.

It serves to highlight his unlikely return from the brink.

The problems

Xhaka arrived at Arsenal with a reputation as a clever but combative midfielder who was more than happy to get stuck in. After all, his five red cards in from the start of the 2013-14 season until the end of 2015-16 was the most of any Bundesliga player over that period, and only two players were booked more often (29).

There was an acceptance his style of play would be a risk, though many Gunners fans were adamant such forcefulness was missing from their midfield.

While Xhaka did show many qualities during his debut season, it was his disciplinary record and aggressive style that unsurprisingly defined him in the eyes of many, as he was shown three red cards across all competitions in the 2016-17 campaign.

He did then go three successive seasons without a red card, attributing his initial improvement in that area to Arsene Wenger back in November 2017, with video analysis seemingly crucial to the midfielder's learning. Though it should be said, he amassed 10 yellows in each of those three league campaigns, so it wasn't as if he suddenly became an angel.

The thing is, Xhaka's wild side may have been embraced or at least more readily forgiven were it not for his other on-pitch woes. Between August 2016 and September 2020, his 16 Opta-defined errors leading to shots were five more than any other Arsenal player across all competitions, while only Petr Cech and Bernd Leno (both seven) – goalkeepers, so you'd expect them to be punished more – committed a greater number of errors that led to goals (six).

Similarly, Xhaka's five penalty concessions over the same period was a joint-high at Arsenal with David Luiz. Essentially, there was a common perception emerging that he was liability even if he wasn't getting sent off.

The downfall

It was the last 12 months of the aforementioned four-year period when Xhaka's Arsenal days appeared numbered. In October 2019, exactly a month after being made captain, Xhaka was substituted during Crystal Palace's visit to the Emirates Stadium and a chorus of boos was aimed in his direction.

Xhaka made sarcastic gestures to the crowd in response, cupped his ear and then appeared to swear at the Arsenal fans as he was replaced by Bukayo Saka. He swiftly removed his jersey on his way down the tunnel.

Former Arsenal players and fans alike called for him to lose the captaincy after head coach Unai Emery suggested Xhaka shouldn't have reacted as he did.

On November 5, Arsenal confirmed Xhaka had been stripped of the armband and he didn't play again until the end of the month when the Gunners faced Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League – he had missed five games in all.

In the intervening period, Xhaka provided an explanation for his actions, detailing how months of abuse at matches and on social media had seen him reach "boiling point". He professed his love for the club and encouraged everyone to "move forward positively together".

Remarkably, that's what happened.

The redemption

It bears remembering, the atmosphere around Arsenal was toxic enough even without the Xhaka situation – December saw Emery replaced by Arteta, and the latter was unequivocal in his desire to keep Xhaka at the club.

A move to Hertha Berlin had been agreed, according to the player's agent, and that appeared to be the end. But, with the January 2020 transfer window only a day old, Arteta revealed Xhaka had assured him he was staying.

Six months later, Xhaka emphasised the importance of Arteta in that decision. He told BT Sport: "I was very, very close to leaving the club. I had, until this [Palace incident], had a great, great time in this football club. It was never in my mind to leave the club before, but after this happened, of course you think about it.

"When Mikel arrived, I had a very good meeting with him, very good conversations. Mikel was the guy. He turned me around and gave me a second chance, and he showed me he trusted me and I have tried to give him everything back."

Since then, he's steadily won back the faith of Arsenal fans and is arguably enjoying the finest spell of his Arsenal career. This season, he's already got two goals and three assists in eight Premier League games – only in 2018-19 (four) has he scored more goals in a single campaign for the Gunners, while only in 2017-18 has he provided more assists (seven).

So, to anyone wondering what's changed, the answer is fairly clear: Xhaka's playing a more advanced role and this is allowing his strengths – distribution, shooting – to shine. For much of his Arsenal career, he's been used as the deepest midfielder, but that's no longer the case with Thomas Partey the first choice in that role.

With more freedom to get forward, Xhaka's creating 2.2 chances from open play every 90 minutes (all comps.) – his previous best in that regard for Arsenal or Borussia Monchengladbach was 1.2. Granted, those were over full seasons, but that shouldn't detract from an obvious greater creative influence.

While he is making fewer tackles and interceptions than ever before, the fact only four midfielders have more than his five Premier League goal involvements this term suggests it's not a problematic sacrifice.

The Granit Xhaka most have known throughout his Premier League career was associated with work rate and destructive tendencies, but his current guise suggests he's not only enjoyed a redemption but a rebirth.

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