Arsenal target Denis Zakaria has come under scrutiny from Gunners fans on social media after his dismal first-half performance against Spain at Euro 2020.
Zakaria, 24, was drafted into the team today to replace the suspended Granit Xhaka.
Xhaka himself has been heavily linked away from the Emirates Stadium this summer, with Roma boss Jose Mourinho a keen admirer of the current Arsenal midfielder. With the 28-year-old looking likely to leave the club this summer, his Swiss teammate Zakaria has been touted as a potential replacement.
But it’s safe to say after his first-half display for Switzerland against Spain in what was seen as his audition, Gunners fans were underwhelmed with what they saw.
The Borussia Mönchengladbach midfielder started the first few minutes of the game brightly, making some driving runs through the Spanish midfield.
However, it wasn’t too long after the first minutes where the red lights were flashing for Arsenal fans. Jordi Alba’s volley from the left side was deflected into his own net by Zakaria, as Luis Enrique’s side profited off some poor defending.
That incident was enough in itself for some fans to already make their mind up on the midfielder’s credentials as a potential Xhaka replacement.
Here is how fans reacted on social media to the first half performance of Switzerland’s number six.
@arsenalnotoesl said: “Feel bad for Zakaria as well cause he’s there to replace Xhaka, not a nice start for him.”
@samizgould tweeted: “Yep Xhaka had an amazing game and wasn’t the Arsenal version we’ve seen so much of. Good to see my prediction for Zakaria has already gone south!
“I do think he is still a better player just got to avoid deflections…”
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@Jose_afc_x jokingly put: “But Arsenal fans said Zakaria > Xhaka.”
If the first half was anything to go off in this Euro 2020 quarter-final, then maybe the Arsenal hierarchy could reconsider their options when it comes to finding the right Granit Xhaka replacement.
During the last Bundesliga season, Zakaria only contributed with two goal contributions in 25 games and missed a hefty chunk of matches with an ongoing long-term injury which has hampered the Swiss midfielder’s potential.
Statistics which fans may want to avoid, and the first half of Spain vs Switzerland could go a long way in certifying these records.