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Despite praise, Emery must ruthlessly axe Arsenal 26-year-old and trust £26m warrior

Arsenal manager Unai Emery launched another passionate defence of under-fire Granit Xhaka after the dramatic 3-2 win over Aston Villa – but surely it’s now time for change.

The Swiss midfielder again came in for criticism from many Gunners fans after faring poorly against the Villans in Sunday’s Premier League encounter.

Xhaka was handed another start and wore the captain’s armband, but struggled to live with Villa’s mobility and picked up a customary yellow card.

(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

He did not offer the desired protection for the back four, and was actually jeered by some supporters when replaced by Joe Willock.

Xhaka has had plenty of chances to turn around his fortunes at the Emirates Stadium, but surely his latest display should have Emery thinking about replacing the 26-year-old.

And the man who obviously should take his place, is last season’s success story, Lucas Torreira.

TBR’s view

Torreira is quite the opposite to Xhaka in that, he is quick across the ground and far less error-prone.

The Uruguay international has had to contend with a role on the bench so far this season while Emery has persisted with Xhaka, but now is surely the time for him to come back into the side alongside impressive youngster Matteo Guendouzi.

(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

Before falling away a bit towards the end last season, £26 million signing Torreira (BBC Sport) showed himself to be a real warrior in midfield.

He has the controlled bite many fans wished Xhaka had, with the former Borussia Monchengladbach star simply too rash.

Emery’s defence of the player (via Goal) in public is admirable, but the Spaniard surely has to show a ruthless streak if Arsenal are to tighten up defensively.

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