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Arsenal fans have called for manager Mikel Arteta to give one of their young midfield stars a chance after Granit Xhaka was ruled out for three months following a reported ruptured knee ligament.
The Swiss midfielder had enjoyed a fantastic game in front of the raucous Emirates crowd as the Gunners led their bitter rivals Tottenham 3-1 on Sunday.
But a bizarre incident where teammate Thomas Partey’s nudge on Lucas Moura sent the Brazilian clattering into Xhaka’s knee saw the 29-year-old subbed off in the second-half.
And with Xhaka now expected to be out for the next few months, Arsenal fans on social media have pleaded for summer midfield arrival Albert Sambi Lokonga to be given more first-team opportunities.
Lokonga, 21, has impressed fans since his arrival in the summer for a fee of £15million plus add-ons, which now seems a bargain.
The young Belgian has looked assured in possession, picking out his teammates with accuracy and demonstrating wonderful vision already during his short spell in north London.
One fan saw the positives from a bad situation, writing on Twitter: “Not ideal but at least it will give Sambi more game time, him and Partey could be exciting.”
Another Arsenal fan wrote: “It’s like the universe telling us Lokonga should be the starter. The kid has had several opportunities to be starter due to Xhaka and Partey’s absences already.”
Do you think Arsenal will struggle without Xhaka in the next few months? Let us know in the comments section.
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But Xhaka’s absence could potentially disrupt Arsenal’s scintillating recent form as they notched their fourth successive win in all competitions on the weekend.
Despite his past controversy and inconsistency, Xhaka is one of Arteta’s most senior players and the Gunners will undoubtedly miss his leadership in the autumn period.
Arteta will have Lokonga, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Martin Odegaard and Mohamed Elneny to choose from ahead of Saturday’s clash against an in-form Brighton side.
- Arsenal FC
- Premier League
- Mikel Arteta
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