Jamie Redknapp has highlighted a transfer that Arsenal are regretting this season.
The Gunners are enjoying a good campaign, but after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa, they now sit in second place after Liverpool beat Crystal Palace earlier in the day.
John McGinn’s seventh-minute goal was enough for Unai Emery’s Villa Park side, who won their 15th consecutive home league game, although Arsenal thought they had equalized before Kai Havertz’s last-minute goal was annulled by hand.
However, Mikel Arteta’s team wasted several other chances to equalize and looked unbalanced for parts of the match.
And Redknapp, speaking after the game sky sports – insisted Arsenal were missing Granit Xhaka after they sold him to Bayer Leverkusen for £21.4m in the summer.
Jamie Redknapp has highlighted a transfer that Arsenal are regretting this season
The Gunners suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park on Saturday night.
Redknapp claimed that Mikel Arteta’s team is missing Granit Xhaka, who left in the summer
“I think if you evaluated Arsenal this season, the facts are there: they are seven points less than last year and seven goals less,” he said.
‘The performances have not been so fluid. There was much to enjoy. The back four haven’t changed, but in midfield with Havertz, is he an improvement on Xhaka? Right now I would say no.
‘I think they (miss Xhaka). He had that quality, he gave you that positional sense. He would put it on his left foot, create balls towards Jesus and just give you that bit of guile which is something they don’t possess.
Havertz, who was signed from Chelsea for £65m in the summer, has had a mixed start to life at the Emirates.
After initially struggling, he scored a vital goal against Brentford last month, while he also scored in the 4-3 comeback win over Luton on Tuesday.
However, Redknapp felt that Havertz had negatively impacted the Gunners’ team structure.
He added: ‘Havertz has had a good run these past few weeks. “But they haven’t achieved the balance they had last year, where they dominated the teams for 90 minutes.”
This is something Arteta even mentioned in the build-up to the game when he explained: “He (Xhaka) was a great player for us. We miss Granite, yes. “I also miss him because I love him as a person.”
Xhaka impresses at Bayer Leverkusen, who lead the Bundesliga with Xabi Alonso (right)
Your browser does not support iframes.
Xhaka made 297 appearances over seven seasons at Arsenal after joining from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016.
Despite his high-profile rows with the club’s supporters that saw him stripped of the captaincy in 2019, he resurrected his career with the Gunners and left on a high at the end of last season.
He has shone so far at Bayer Leverkusen, and Xabi Alonso’s team has surpassed the chances of reaching the top of the Bundesliga.
Arteta’s side will return to Premier League action next Sunday when they host Brighton at the Emirates.