“Xhaka, it’s strange,” Hoddle reacts to Arteta’s latest squad tinkering

Glenn Hoddle says he found it strange that Mikel Arteta played Granit Xhaka as a left-back in Arsenal’s match against Sheffield United at the weekend.

The Gunners were without Kieran Tierney, who faces a spell on the sidelines yet again and it forced Arteta to become creative in his selections.

The former midfielder has used Cedric Soares in that position before now, but he opted to rest the Portugal international and used Xhaka as a cover there instead.

The Gunners attacked with a back-three but defended with a back four and Xhaka was the left-back in those circumstances.

The formation did pay off with a brace from Alexandre Lacazette and another strike from Gabriel Martinelli enough to help Arsenal earn all the points from the match.

Hoddle says that was a strange way to set up his team, but the Gunners kept a clean sheet at the end of the day and he says it would give them a psychological advantage even though it was against Sheffield United.

Hoddle told Optus Sport on Premier League Productions: “Xhaka, it’s strange, They are playing three at the back when in possession.

“And then defensively they go into a four, with Xhaka playing an unusual (position). 

About Arsenal’s clean sheet, he added: “Well, physiologically it is (important). They put Xhaka in that left-back position when they defended, at times and then when they got on the ball they went into a three.

“But clean sheets breeds confidence, albeit against Sheffield United, who didn’t create too much. But the reason they didn’t create too much is that Arsenal had possession of the ball.”

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