Martin Keown has urged Arsene Wenger to leave Granit Xhaka out of his Arsenal team to face Tottenham Hotspur in the north London derby on Saturday.
The Gunners will make the short trip across the English capital looking to build on their 5-1 win against Everton at The Emirates last weekend.
Jack Wilshere came off the bench for Arsenal’s landslide win against the Toffees despite his impressive performances in recent months in Aaron Ramsey’s absence.
Xhaka has struggled to make a positive impression at Arsenal since his £35m move to The Emirates from Bundesliga giants Borussia Monchengladbach in the 2016 summer transfer window.
The Switzerland international has cost the Gunners points this season with his lack of discipline in a holding midfield role.
With Arsenal facing a tough battle to break into the top four following an inconsistent season so far, the Gunners can ill-afford to drop points at Tottenham.
Retired England international Keown urged Wenger to start Wilshere ahead of Xhaka to help Arsenal compete with Tottenham’s powerful midfield.
“If Arsene Wenger’s objective is to win the game by dominating possession, then he should play Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey in midfield,” Keown told the Daily Mail.
“Granit Xhaka is not doing the defensive job Arsenal would have expected after paying £35million for him. Manchester United lost the midfield battle at Wembley last week and Wenger won’t want that vision of Xhaka struggling to retain the ball.
“If it is not going to work with Xhaka in midfield then why not take the game to Tottenham and play with total possession?
“I don’t see Jack as any less defensive than Xhaka. Wilshere is the better player, and the better player has to play.”
Tottenham were 2-0 winners against Manchester United at Wembley after Mauricio Pochettino’s midfield won the battle against Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba.
Liverpool FC surrendered a first-half lead to draw 2-2 with Spurs last weekend following a dominant performance from Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama in the middle of the park.
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