Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka believes he is in the best form of his Gunners career and he attributes that improvement to the arrival of "freak" Unai Emery.
Xhaka joined Arsenal in 2016 in a deal which could reportedly reach £40million having enjoyed four years in the Bundesliga with Borussia Monchengladbach.
But in his first two seasons in the Premier League, Xhaka struggled to convince fans, often looking awkward and overly aggressive in a defensive midfield role.
He toiled in defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea at the start of this season, but Xhaka has steadily improved since, particularly when played alongside the more naturally defensive-minded Lucas Torreira.
And Xhaka is putting his elevated performances down to Emery, who succeeded Arsene Wenger ahead of 2018-19.
"It's definitely my best season so far," he told Aargauer Zeitung. "Without doubt, I think I've taken another step forward.
Granit Xhaka in #ARSLIV...— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 3, 2018
▪️ More passes than anyone else on the pitch
▪️ More recoveries than anyone else on the pitch
▪️ More tackles than anyone else on the pitch
Pretty impressive stats, Granit pic.twitter.com/9KiWKICSni
"It's the best I've felt at Arsenal since I came to the club and the coach has had an enormous influence.
"He prepares us all and we have a plan. We know how to do it with the ball and without the ball. We know how and when to stand where.
"Emery is like Lucien Favre [whom Xhaka played for at Gladbach], a freak who pushes us back and forth, 10 times, until everyone understands.
"I never had contact with him [Emery] until after the World Cup. When I got back to training, the first thing he told me was: 'Granit, you're one of my five captains.'
"I'm at one of the top 10 clubs in the world, so that makes you proud and gives you confidence.
"It was a great sign of the club to extend my contract until 2023. For me that's a huge sign of appreciation. I knew then I was very important to the club."
23 de febrero 2019
|Icardi remains sidelined for Inter´s Fiorentina trip|
|Sangakkara leads Sri Lanka plaudits after historic triumph|
|Solari still committed to LaLiga title race|
|Allegri calls on Juventus to ´do something extraordinary´ after Atletico loss|
|DeRozan humbled by reception on bittersweet Raptors return|
|Du Plessis laments lacklustre Proteas display|
|Hard work pays off for Karunaratne´s Sri Lanka|
|De Laurentiis aims jibe at Juventus and Ronaldo|
|BREAKING NEWS: Kane returns for Spurs at Burnley|
|Champions Crusaders outclass Hurricanes|
|Sri Lanka make history with series win in South Africa|
|Mane: Putting pressure on ourselves won´t help Liverpool|
|Thunder´s George: That was a statement|
|Leclerc ready to battle for top Ferrari billing|
|Man United outing was a learning experience – Alexander-Arnold|
|Redknapp expects more twists as under-pressure Liverpool seek to end title drought|
|Chelsea v Manchester City: Myopic Blues should show Sarri faith regardless of Wembley result|
|Westbrook´s streak ends in Thunder win, Raptors best DeRozan in return|
|Johnson happy with patient approach in Mexico|
|Italy, Poland secure World Cup spots|
|Del Potro stunned, Isner through at Delray Beach|
|Klopp: Man United clash not decisive|
|Mbappe, Di Maria partnership pleases Tuchel|
|WATCH: Raptors pay tribute to DeRozan in return to Toronto|
|Trahan in three-way tie for lead in Puerto Rico|
|Trump on Kraft charge: He´s proclaimed his innocence totally|
|Van Uytvanck battles back to stay on course in Budapest|
|Johnson moves into lead, McIlroy two shots back|
|Arsenal must show intensity to get fans on side - Emery|
|Impressive Tsitsipas through to last four in Marseille|
|England fall in line to Cottrell as West Indies level ODI series|
|Fulham ´scared´ after Hernandez handball - Ranieri|
|Gattuso encouraged by AC Milan´s rampant second-half showing|
|City respond to allegations relating to Sancho deal|
|Wenger will not be new sporting director, insists PSG president|
|´You shouldn´t be refereeing´ - Warnock blasts official after heavy defeat|
|Neymar and Mbappe ´2,000 per cent´ staying at PSG|
22 de febrero 2019
|Saints rally to see off Rhinos but Warrington lead the way|
|Gloucester hand Saracens rare Premiership defeat|
|Munster keep the Ospreys grounded as Warriors demolish Connacht|
|I don´t know the meaning of Sarriball - Chelsea boss focused on results|
|Who is Robert Kraft? The New England Patriots owner who helped build an NFL dynasty|
|Cardiff City 1 Watford 5: Deulofeu and Deeney down Bluebirds|
|West Ham 3 Fulham 1: Hernandez´s handling sparks Hammers recovery|
|Three team members treated following McLaren garage fire|
|AC Milan 3 Empoli 0: Piatek´s hot streak continues as Rossoneri roll on|
|Controversy mars Hernandez´s milestone goal|
|Laporte 2025: New deal earned through winning habit from Man City´s pass master|
|Watford and Everton reach agreement over Silva|
|Hodgson inspired by Attenborough ahead of Premier League record|
|Chelsea will challenge Manchester City in EFL Cup final - Laporte|
|Wolff compares Ferrari new recruit Leclerc to young Hamilton|
|Messi not Sevilla´s only worry with Navas in doubt|
|Kvitova outlasts Hsieh, Bencic dumps out champion Svitolina|
|Patriots owner Kraft charged with soliciting prostitution|
|Laporte signs long-term extension with Manchester City|
|Ellis set for Super League comeback with Hull FC|
|Ill Hummels out of Hertha game|
|Halfpenny to make Scarlets comeback against Cheetahs|
|Sri Lanka sense historic win after dramatic day two|
|Lacazette banned for both Europa League last-16 legs|
|Vidic: I wouldn´t take Van Dijk over United´s defenders|
|Widnes Vikings face uncertain future after going into administration|
|Valverde confident Barcelona´s dry spell is a blip|
|Manchester derby: United v City at Old Trafford set for April 24|
|Sane the best in the world out wide, says Manchester City boss Guardiola|
|Cronin handed rare start, Italy make five changes|
|Inter director Zanetti hopes for swift Icardi return|
|BCCI urges cricket community to ´sever ties´ with terrorism-emanating countries|
|Reus and Piszczek still out for Borussia Dortmund|