Didi Hamann: Granit Xhaka can be the secret to Premier League success for Arsenal

Didi Hamann believes that Arsenal's signing of Xhaka can help them beat Tottenham in the North London derby, and go on to Premier League glory

I didn’t like Tottenham last year, and I like them even less this year. They have punched way above their weight for 18 months now. If you look at their team compared to others in the league, they shouldn’t be anywhere near them. Out-running teams and good organisation will only get you so far and they are coming to the end of the road. Spurs live off their energy, discipline and organisation, but they don’t really have much style of play. Bayern Leverkusen are a side struggling in the German league at the moment, and they totally outplayed Spurs on Wednesday.

Finishing in the top four was a real result for Tottenham last season, and it will be a huge achievement if they do it again this year.

Mauricio Pochettino is a top manager and up there with the best in the Premier League but the question that needs to be asked is have they got a strong enough team? Bringing Moussa Sissoko in on deadline day was a bit strange when all the other teams did their business early on. They made a club record transfer on the last day of the window, for a player they didn’t actually need. That raises huge concerns about how the club is run. There seem to be a lot of things which need to be resolved in-house.

Arsenal on the other hand will be buzzing going into the game and full of confidence after their dramatic 90th minute winner against Ludogorets in the Champions League on Tuesday. It will feel like the games can’t come quick enough for them. Spurs are six without a win and have the perfect chance to right their wrongs, but confidence is a big thing and ultimately Arsenal’s will be a lot higher.

The Gunners are a fantastic bet for Sunday’s North London derby at the Emirates. Arsene Wenger has more steel about his side and there is a huge amount of talent in the Gunners’ team. This squad is on a completely different level to the ones they have had for the last five or ten years. This is a different Arsenal. There’s a lot more belief in the team and they have options. If you compare them to teams of the past, they look like winners and they can absolutely go and win the title this year.

In Shkodran Mustafi they have a proper defender and for the first time since Alex Song left for Barcelona they finally have a holding midfielder in Granit Xhaka. Arsenal’s Achilles heel has been that defensive fragility, and despite trying Mikel Arteta and Francis Coquelin as a holding midfielder they never replaced Song. Xhaka is a top-class player, and one of the best in the business in that role.

Arsenal have Tottenham at home on Sunday, and then after the international break it’s Manchester United away, and PSG at the Emirates in the Champions League. That could well be a maximum nine points for them. Two wins in the league and then ensure you top the group in the Champions League. It’s a good time for Arsenal at the moment. The best it has been for a long time.

What do you think?