Granit Xhaka believes Mikel Arteta is ‘more than the right manager’ for Arsenal

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka is defiant in his belief that Mikel Arteta is the right man to take the club forward.

The Gunners’ Premier League title hopes ended on Saturday when they lost 1-0 at Nottingham Forest, which saw Manchester City crowned champions for a fifth time in six seasons.

They sat on top of the league for 248 days of the season and had an eight-point lead over City in March, but despite their late capitulation Arteta’s side have won acclaim for their progress this season.

When asked whether he thought Arteta was the man to lead the pursuit of City, he said: “You can forget this question – he is more than the right manager for this team.”

The Gunners have faltered badly in their last eight games, winning just twice, but Xhaka says this season has to be the blueprint for progression.

“We don’t need to forget how we work for the last 11 months,” he said.

“Even when we lost now in the last two games, of course the people see what happens now, but don’t forget the 11 months we worked.

Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta has taken Arsenal back into the Champions League (Mike Egerton/PA)

“If someone told us before the season that we will be here, I think everyone would sign it. Our goal for sure was to be back in the top four. Now we are second. Of course when you are so close to the title you want to win the title.

“But we are there where we are, deserve to be where we are, and let’s see what happens next season. We have to go and do the next step.”

Forest’s victory meant that they stayed up against the odds in their first season back in the Premier League.

They did it the hard way, having signed 30 new players across the two transfer windows and were on an 11-game winless run up until the end of April.

But 10 points from the last five games has seen them move out of the relegation zone and midfielder Ryan Yates was happy to prove people wrong.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “I have had a lot of that individually, this season is no different. That was always going to come with the amount of players brought in and the amount of money spent.

“During those periods we have had, we have had to show real togetherness and resilience.

“All credit to the manager, because he has really instilled that belief in us that we can still achieve. This is really special, let’s kick on again next season.”