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Granit Xhaka confident Arsenal can use criticism as incentive to improve

Granit Xhaka has said Arsenal will be motivated by the criticism levelled at them after their poor start to the new Premier League season.

Arsenal lost 2-0 at home to Chelsea on Sunday as Romelu Lukaku marked his second debut with a goal before Reece James wrapped up a deserved victory for the visitors. That followed an opening-day defeat at Brentford as Arsenal endured their worst start to a campaign in the top four leagues.

Xhaka, who signed a new deal with the club before the start of the season despite being heavily linked with a move to Italy, said things need to improve as the squad seek to prove their naysayers wrong.

He said: “A lot of people try to speak and to kill a little bit the players and the team but the strongest thing to do at the moment is to be together, and only together will we be stronger and give the results on the pitch after.

“We want to achieve something big. After two games a lot of people are speaking about this team and about this club but I will say, no season finishes after two or three games. We still have games in front of us, we know we have to improve a lot of things and I’m sure we will do that.”

Xhaka captained Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, a big turnaround from being stripped of the armband by Unai Emery in November 2019 after an outburst at supporters and then appearing set for a move to Roma this summer.

“I’m very happy, I’m still here,” he said. “I’ve signed a new contract and I want to give back, first of all to our staff, and then after to our fans. They know I will give everything – in every game and every training session. We have to show that as a team soon.”