Granit Xhaka hands Arsenal timely boost ahead of busy Christmas fixture schedule

Granit Xhaka has been out of action for more than two months
(Image: Getty Images)

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Xhaka started the season in the centre of Arsenal's midfield, frustrating fans with his red card in the 5-0 defeat to Manchester City.

The Swiss international returned from suspension to help Arteta's team beat Tottenham in the North London Derby, but left the field injured towards the end of the 3-1 victory.

At the time, there were worries he could be out of action until the new year, but Xhaka has gone straight back into the starting XI for the Gunners' Premier League game against Everton.

Xhaka posted the message "I'm back" on an Instagram story, having earlier shared a photo from the training ground with the caption "Feels so good to be back with the boys".

The 29-year-old began his recovery in the gym in September, before stepping things up with a return to full training with his Arsenal teammates.

"Granit is progressing well, he is doing all the right things and he's feeling better but no more news on that," Arteta said in his pre-match press conference, adding that the player was "heading in the right direction," and Xhaka's return to the starting line-up confirms he has progressed well ahead of schedule.

Xhaka announced his return on Instagram
(Image: granitxhaka/Instagram)

Arsenal have been impressive in Xhaka's absence, climbing into the top six of the Premier League, so the manager could have a big call to make when the former club captain is back to full fitness.

The north London side have a busy run coming up, with five Premier League matches before the end of the year – not including the Everton trip – as well as a Carabao Cup quarter-final against Sunderland.

"I'm sure that if you tell him three [months], he will be thinking two," Arteta said of Xhaka shortly after the club gave an update about the length of time he would spend on the sidelines.

With a busy December schedule, and a depleted squad as Arsenal enter the new year, his return couldn't have arrived at a much better time.