Arsenal had a fully fit squad for the North London Derby match against Tottenham for the first time in what felt like an eternity.
The medical staff and analyst department has undergone huge changes over the past couple of years and muscular injuries are almost a thing of the past now.
Xhaka had served his three match suspension following his sending off against Manchester City and was expected to partner Thomas Partey in midfield.
However, the impressive form of Sambi Lokonga alongside Partey against Burnley prompted some to question whether it was the right decision to bring him back.
Arteta was proved right with his decision in the end.
“Obviously we had to think about it, we had different options to play against them,” he said after the game.
“We believed that the way they set up and what we wanted to do in the game, it was the right call to do that.
“I understand that a lot of people will say, ‘You won the last two games, why change it?’ but we did it with the intention that it was the right thing to do to start the game and then change it, and unfortunately he got injured.
“I’m pretty worried because it doesn’t look very positive at the moment.”
Xhaka’s injury was undoubtedly the only negative to come from Arsenal’s 3-1 victory and football.london understands that he is currently waiting on the results of a scan on his knee.
There is some cautious optimism that the injury isn’t as bad as first feared after the Swiss international was seen walking on the pitch at full time, but Arteta’s post-match comments will spark fear that he could be on the sidelines for longer than expected.
Xhaka was influential in two of Arsenal’s three goals against Tottenham and his passing between the lines coupled with excellent reading of the game proved crucial for the Gunners.
“What we did is try to explain to them what happened in the first three games,” said Arteta when asked about the difficult start to the season.
“We missed nine, 10, 11 players that we could not select, they were out and the ones that were in had issues as well because they had Covid, they had injuries and we played the best two teams in the world, which you can see yesterday when they played each other.
“So we had to accept that we were bottom of the table, that was best to accept the reality, and go back to certain things we have to do better, believe in what we do, stick together and we were lucky because we had our people with us in a difficult moment, which in football is very rare to find. Then things started to get better.”
It hasn’t been a great start for Arsenal as Mikel Arteta looks to arrest the slide
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Interestingly, Xhaka ranks among the top players at Arsenal for passes into the final third and progressive passes which goes against many of the misconceptions about the 29-year-old.
Whilst he celebrates his birthday today, the decision to turn down £12.9million from Roma for Xhaka may prove to be the correct one and could benefit Arsenal’s midfield over the coming months.