Arsene Wenger compares Granit Xhaka to Emmanuel Petit.

  • Swiss midfielder covered the most ground (11.65km) at Watford.

  • Xhaka has a good engine and good stature.

Arsenal boss Arsène Wenger has heaped praised on his summer signing Granit Xhaka after his performance in the Gunners' 3-1 triumph over Watford on Saturday.

Xhaka, who made more tackles and had more touches of the ball than any other player in the triumph at Vicarage Road, reminded Wenger of a club legend Emmanuel Petit.

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“I believe he has a good mixture of short and long balls, in midfield it is important for us to sometimes stretch the defenders,” Wenger said after the match as quoted.

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“We have a game that is based on shorter passes than other teams so sometimes when you have a player who can kick the longer ball, it gives us a chance to get some oxygen and some space.

“He is a guy who plays naturally behind the ball. He is a bit similar to Petit in the way he plays football. He likes to sit, give good long balls and be available with the centre-backs.

“He has a good engine, good stature, he is good in the air and has a good balance in his game, he has a good short ball and a good long ball.

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“He is 24 years old, he has already experience abroad and that is always a problem and is more reassuring when a player has already played abroad somewhere.

“He was captain at his age at Monchengladbach, that is not a small club so he has leadership qualities.”

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