Arsenal Midfielder Granit Xhaka Named Swiss Player of the Year for the First Time in Career
Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has been named Swiss Player of the Year for the first time in his career after an impressive 2017 for club and country.
Previously the country's Youth Player of the Year in 2012, Xhaka endured a difficult start to his time at Arsenal in the final months of 2016 but saw a significant improvement in his performances in the second half of the season after the turn of the calendar year.
He helped the team to FA Cup glory over Premier League champions Chelsea, playing all 90 minutes of the Wembley final.
But the day before receiving his award while on international duty ahead of Switzerland's upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Latvia, Xhaka was one of Arsenal's poorest players as the Gunners were crushed by Liverpool in a 4-0 Premier League embarrassment.
Manager Arsene Wenger described 'everything' as having gone wrong in the game.
"I think from the first to the last minute we were not at the level requested for such a game and not physically, not technically, not mentally were we at the level and we were punished and that's basically it," the Frenchman explained to the press afterwards.
"You can of course analyse the chances we gave away, but I just think overall that the performance was not at the requested level."
With contract issues still surrounding Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the latter two of whom could yet feasibly leave the club before Thursday night's transfer deadline, Arsenal are in something of an early season crisis.
Carrying on from last season's lowest league finish in more than 20 years, the Gunners have lost two of their opening three games and sit 16th in the table ahead of only win-less Brighton, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and West Ham.