Mikel Arteta has explained the reason for Granit Xhaka being withdrawn just 15 minutes into Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Wolves, citing sickness as the issue.
The Switzerland international has enjoyed an exceptional start to the season and become one of Arsenal’s key players as they sit top of the Premier League, but didn’t look at his best in the opening stages.
Arteta called on Mohamed Elneny and Fabio Vieira to begin warming up mere minutes into the match, but Xhaka continued for as long as he could.
He was substituted after 15 minutes though and replaced by Vieira, looking unwell as he left the field. Speaking after the game, Arteta explained: “We had a few players starting to feel sick just before kick-off.
“We couldn’t change everyone but he could not carry (on) and for him not to carry on is strange but we adapted and we managed to win and that’s what big teams do.”
He added, speaking to Sky: “Unfortunately we have another four players with the same symptoms (as Xhaka), so I don’t know what exactly happened.”
Sickness is far from ideal for the 30-year-old mere weeks away from the World Cup, but the positive news that the issue isn’t injury-related and should mean he is fine to head to Qatar to represent his nation, which Arteta also confirmed.
Switzerland kick off their World Cup campaign on 17 November against Ghana and will hope their talisman can shake off any issue.