Bayer Leverkusen midfielder cites Arsenal example as Bundesliga title win nears

Granit Xhaka previously played for the Gunner from 2016 to 2023

By Web Desk
March 04, 2024
Bayern Leverkusen midfielder Granit Xhaka reacts during a match. — Reuters

Bayern Leverkusen midfielder Granit Xhaka revealed that he's been using Arsenal's collapse in last season's Premier League title race as a cautionary tale for his teammates, urging them not to become complacent in the Bundesliga.

Xhaka, who ended his seven-year stint with Arsenal last summer to join Leverkusen, has played a pivotal role in the club's exceptional start to the season.

Remaining undefeated in the German top flight so far, Leverkusen boasts a commanding ten-point lead over second-placed Bayern Munich, the reigning champions for the past 11 seasons.

Under Xabi Alonso's leadership, Leverkusen ensured they maintained their lead at the top of the table with a win against Cologne over the weekend. Jeremie Frimpong and Alex Grimaldo found the net on either side of half-time at the RheinEnergieSTADION.

Having featured in all 24 matches of Leverkusen's remarkable campaign thus far, Xhaka expressed his satisfaction as the league leaders secured their fifth consecutive victory.

However, mindful of his experience at Arsenal, where his team squandered an eight-point lead to Manchester City last season, Xhaka is keenly aware of how swiftly a title race can change.

"It’s good and we can be proud of it but nothing is won yet," Xhaka told ESPN’s Archie Rhind-Tutt shortly after Leverkusen’s defeat of Cologne.

"I’m speaking about my own experience that I had last season. I think it was similar points over the second and we didn’t win the league.

"I know the experience, this is what I share with the dressing room as well that of course ten points is a lot in football, for sure, when you have ten games left.

"But having ten points over and another 30 points you can take, it’s not over.’

When asked if he's been using Arsenal's downfall as a cautionary tale for the Leverkusen squad, Xhaka affirmed. "For sure, and they're aware because they ask me every day: 'You've been in this situation... what was it like and what happened?'"

"I try to explain but you can’t explain with words. You have to feel it.

"Let’s stay humble, let’s work day by day like we are doing all the season and let’s calculate and see where we are after 34 games."