Granit Xhaka insists nobody will care about Arsenal’s performances if they win trophies

Granit Xhaka insists nobody will care about Arsenal’s performances if they finish the season with silverware.

Mikel Arteta’s side fought off a 2-2 draw against Sporting in the Europa League round of 16 first leg on Thursday before flying home ahead of Sunday’s trip to Fulham. Arsenal currently lead the Premier League by five points and also believe they have a chance of reaching the last eight in Europe in next week’s second leg.

They lacked control and cohesion in Portugal but continue to get results despite not being at their best.

Xhaka doesn’t agree Arsenal’s performances have slipped – ‘I disagree’ – but the midfielder insisted: ‘You see the last games, the results, we won them. We have to respect all opponents, even if Bournemouth aren’t top of the table. We know how difficult it is to play against them.

“Even in the Premier League you play first or last, it’s the same. It’s tough. But as long as you have the result, no one will ask you at the end of May.”

Nobody will care about Arsenal’s performances if they win trophies, says Granit Xhaka
Arsenal were far from at their best in the 2-2 draw against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League

Arsenal led through William Saliba’s early header but needed an own goal from Hidemasa Morita to salvage a point.

Arteta’s side was undone again on a set piece and Xhaka said: ‘It’s too easy. One is a standard situation, the other we don’t accept.

“But everything starts at the beginning, if nobody or not all of us are ready at that level, you get beat.”

The Premier League leaders were missing several key players in Lisbon, with Martin Odegaard and Kieran Tierney both ill and Eddie Nketiah and Leandro Trossard both down.

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Xhaka is delighted with the return of Gabriel Jesus as injury and illness test Arsenal’s ability to fight on two fronts.

Jesus is nearing full fitness following knee surgery that has kept him out since the World Cup.

The Gunners conceded another cheap goal from a corner in the first leg of the round of 16
Xhaka admitted it was “too easy” for Sporting to break through Arsenal’s defense from the corner

Signed from Manchester City for £45m, the striker has been crucial in Arsenal’s first half of the season and Xhaka said: ‘Because we lost Eddie too it’s much more important to have Gabi back. Leo is also injured and can play in this position.

“I hope that step by step Gabi is 100 per cent fit to help this team because we know he can help us. With his attitude, with his personality, he is very, very important to us.”

Xhaka believes Arsenal have the depth of squad to compete at home and in Europe, despite Arteta calling up several children on the bench against Sporting.

“(There is) certainly a lot more pressure than before, but overall I think we’re doing well,” Xhaka added. “I think there’s a good mentality in the team and let’s try to keep that.”

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