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."
17 de diciembre 2018
|BREAKING NEWS: United and PSG set for Champions League showdown|
|Ajax star De Ligt delighted to join Golden Boy alumni|
|Champions League last 16: Draw in full|
|Lyon strikes to put Australia on course for victory in Perth|
|Mourinho´s players below Manchester United standards, says Giggs|
|We´ve got to find a way to get better in a hurry - McVay challenges spluttering Rams|
|Van Dijk hails ´game-changer´ Shaqiri for downing Man United|
|LeBron praises magical Wall as Lakers fall flat on the road|
|Champions League last 16: Who could get who in Monday´s draw?|
|Pochettino urges fans to ´kill´ racism ahead of EFL Cup derby|
|Ajax star De Ligt wins Golden Boy award|
|Foles fuels Eagles´ upset win over Rams|
|Latham carries bat as New Zealand leave Sri Lanka reeling|
|Keep your cool, Virat – Paine and Kohli in another confrontation|
|Depleted Nuggets complete season sweep of Raptors|
|Fabinho was ´outstanding´, says Klopp|
|Patriots QB Brady on loss to Steelers: We aren´t playing well enough to win|
|Elliott says Cowboys´ shut-out loss to Colts was embarrassing|
|De Bruyne not worried about Liverpool title challenge|
|Sixers star Simmons makes history with triple-double|
|WATCH: Nowitzki receives standing ovation in first home game of season|
|Seattle´s playoff spot on hold after Seahawks suffer OT loss to 49ers|
|Cheika survives as Wallabies coach, Johnson appointed|
|Vikings remain in NFC playoff picture|
|Steelers stay ahead as Patriots lose AFC´s second seed|
|Lionel Messi is the best, says Amor|
|I´m still tired just looking at Robertson – Mourinho in awe of Liverpool intensity|
|Casillas takes swipe at Mourinho after United lose to Liverpool|
|Valverde relieved as Messi brilliance prevents another Levante nightmare|
16 de diciembre 2018
|WATCH: Leno proposes to girlfriend after Bears clinch division title|
|Messi and Suarez the world´s best strike partnership, says Pique|
|Klopp: I cannot keep every Liverpool player happy|
|Messi and Suarez outscoring Real Madrid and Atletico in LaLiga|
|Levante 0 Barcelona 5: Marvellous Messi banishes ghosts of last season|
|Colts rout Cowboys to keep playoff hopes alive|
|Bears shake off Packers to win NFC North and return to playoffs|
|Mourinho explains Pogba omission and defends Lukaku´s Liverpool showing|
|Liverpool´s display against Manchester United one of the best, claims Klopp|
|Look away Jose! Damning stats expose Manchester United´s limp Liverpool loss|
|Time´s up, Mourinho: Manchester United can dither no longer|
|Manchester United´s players are not dishonest – Mourinho|
|Manchester United´s lack of ambition under Mourinho is scary – Keane|
|Mourinho: All Manchester United can achieve is fourth|
|Quagliarella should be protected by UNESCO, jokes Sampdoria coach|
|Manchester United surpass last season´s goals-against tally in first 17 games|
|Hasenhuttl revels in ´unbelievable´ victory over Arsenal|
|Liverpool 3 Manchester United 1: Shaqiri´s late show bails out Alisson as Reds return to the top|
|Edinburgh in control in Champions Cup, Racing win again|
|Emery ponders January signing after Bellerin injury|
|It is only a knock – Sarri plays down Hazard injury fears|
|Redskins QB Alex Smith released from hospital|
|Starc: If I listen to Warne, I may as well retire|
|Curry interviews retired NASA astronaut, apologises for moon comments|
|Hazard refusing to give up on Premier League title hopes|
|Ziyech & Blind score hat-tricks as Ajax claim 8-0 win|
|Canelo v Fielding: What next for three-weight champion Alvarez?|
|Southampton 3 Arsenal 2: Austin and Ings end Gunners´ long unbeaten run|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Chelsea 2: Sensational Hazard proves the difference|
|Pogba on the bench as Clyne starts for Liverpool|
|Lipsky ends long barren spell in Malelane|
|Lakers´ Stephenson to repeat air guitar despite technical|
|Fletcher pushed Miller on to Broncos sack record|
|The Sarri effect: Hazard surpasses 2017-18 goal involvements in just 16 games|
|Van der Burgh retires on a high note with breaststroke double|
|Rashford: Liverpool was never an option|
|No team Liverpool play this season will be as motivated as Man United – Klopp|
|India surprised by contentious Kohli decision - Bumrah|
|The Sunday Seven - 7 Key Opta facts for NFL Week 15|
|Miller eyeing Joshua bout at Madison Square Garden|
|Finch cleared of serious damage after another finger blow|