Charlie Nicholas doesn’t like £90,000-a-week Arsenal star performances

Charlie Nicholas believes Gunners manager Unai Emery has no option but to drop Granit Xhaka for Sunday’s game with Aston Villa. Switzerland international has come in for fierce criticism so far this term after putting in several below-par performances.

Granit played a full 90 minutes in Gunners 3-0 win against Frankfurt in Germany on Thursday, and Spanish coach is expected to freshen up his side for the visit of Villa. Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi could both come back into the team, and Charlie says it’s time for Xhaka to be dropped.

‘They must get more from Nicolas Pepe, and he must be match fit now,’ said Charlie. ‘Pepe needs to use his trickery and pace to help Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Unai Emery must stick with Reiss Nelson or Joe Willock. ‘How can you make sense of the defence? I don’t know who will partner David Luiz.

It doesn’t matter whether one or two midfielders are protecting the back four and I think it is time to leave Granit Xhaka out of the side.’ London club threw away a two-goal lead with Watford in their last Premier League game. Charlie is expecting plenty of goals at the Emirates Stadium but says Gunners have enough firepower to overcome Aston Villa.

‘There are a lot of goals for Gunners at home. Dani Ceballos must play and Mesut Ozil too, they moved it around well last week,’ said Nicholas. ‘I like Mateo Guendouzi, but he is young, naïve and gets attracted to the ball. They need to sort themselves out in defence, and if they are not good enough, you leave them out.’