Granit Xhaka has revealed that it was his manager Unai Emery who inspired his stunning free-kick against Crystal Palace this weekend.
The Swiss international. and makeshift Arsenal left-back, stepped up to a free-kick in the 51st minute. The expectation was that Xhaka would simply help the ball in to the area, in the hope one of his teammates would manage to get the equaliser. Instead, he produced a thunderous and incredibly accurate free-kick which found its way past Wayne Hennessey in the Palace goal and in to the top corner.
Xhaka celebrated with his manager directly after scoring and has since revealed it was Emery who inspired the goal in Arsenal’s 2-2 draw.
The 26-year-old, as quoted by Football London, told his club website: “I chose to shoot because the coach asked me why I didn’t take the corners or the free-kicks in the first half.
“I think it was the first free-kick of the second half, so I took it. I was happy that I could score, but we can’t be so happy after the game.”
Asked if Emery’s half-time message was the reason he went over to celebrate with him, Xhaka said: “Yeah, not only to say thank you. After he told me that I must take free-kicks and corners, I did it.”
Xhaka also took the free-kick later in the second half which directly led to Aubameyang’s goal.
Manager Unai Emery corroborated Xhaka’s story after the game as he spoke to Sky Sports.
He said: “At half-time we spoke about this situation – he has good quality from free-kicks and also to try to make more crosses.
“I tried to push him to do that. He has the quality to do that.”