‘Inspirational’: Rio Ferdinand praises Arsenal star’s display at Chelsea FC
BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand singles out Granit Xhaka for praise in Arsenal's 2-2 draw at Chelsea FC on Tuesday night
Rio Ferdinand has hailed Granit Xhaka’s “inspirational” performance in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.
The Switzerland international was a much-maligned figure under Unai Emery, losing the captaincy and seemingly heading for a departure from The Emirates outfit.
However, Xhaka has earned a reprieve under Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal boss has stuck with the 27-year-old since taking over the reins last month.
Xhaka was asked to fill in at centre-half during Tuesday night’s London derby after David Luiz was sent off for a last-ditch foul on Tammy Abraham.
Jorginho broke the deadlock from the ensuing penalty before Xhaka played alongside Shkodran Mustafi for the remainder of the clash.
Xhaka performed admirably in the unfamiliar role in Arteta’s makeshift team as 10-man Arsenal twice came from behind to equalise and earn a point.
BT Sport defender Ferdinand was full of praise for Xhaka’s performance in the Premier League clash as Arsenal secured a 2-2 draw.
“I’ve criticised Xhaka,” Ferdinand told BT Sport. “But how he showed that desire, the maturity, the mentality to slip into the back-four and hold it all together was amazing.
“That’s inspirational for other players. I’m shifting position and making sure we get this result. Fight, spirit. It was there for Arteta to see.”
Gabriel Martinelli cancelled out Jorginho’s opener from the penalty spot before Hector Bellerin restored parity once more after Cesar Azpilicueta’s goal.
Xhaka was frozen out of the Arsenal squad under Emery after he clashed with Gunners fans during a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at The Emirates before he was stripped of the club captaincy.