Granit Xhaka says Arsenal’s next three games could define the rest of their season with the Swiss recognising the importance of winning two home Premier League matches and their FA Cup clash with Southampton before taking on Chelsea in early February.
Still eight points behind Antonio Conte’s league leaders, the fourth-placed Gunners know they can’t afford to lose momentum in the coming weeks, especially with the likes of Sp*rs, Liverpool and the two Manchester clubs in close proximity.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game at Burnley, Xhaka told the Evening Standard:
“It was important to win at Swansea in the way we did, winning 4-0 there, because we know we have got these two home games coming up against Burnley and Watford [on 31 Jan].
“To be honest, I see it in the same way as the boss – these next three games could really tell a lot about what direction we are going to go in this season.”
Burnley visit the Emirates sitting pretty in tenth place courtesy of their amazing home form. Away from Turf Moor, the Clarets have the worst record in the league, picking up just a solitary point.
While the odds are stacked in the Gunners favour, Xhaka is aware of the importance of breaking the deadlock early to force defensive sides to push forward.
“They are a team who play really direct and are quite compact defensively as well ,that makes it difficult,” continued the Swiss. “But we are playing at home and we want to dominate the game and get the three points.
“Against these sorts of teams it is very important to score as early as possible and it puts them under pressure and makes them come out a big more.
“We want to start well, we want to start positively, we want to force mistakes and if we do that I’m sure we will be successful in this game.”