Arsenal fans may not like Xhaka – but Emery does, so he needs our support

GRANIT XHAKA: ONE OF THE PLAYERS WHO DIVIDE THE OPINIONS OF FANS AND COACHS by I

With the North London derby ending up a dismal draw due to our usual defensive frailties, and with just four games of the season gone, it is obvious that fans can never guess the players to start any game as the coach selection is not predictable. I have noticed that his tinkering with the squad annoys some fans. But isn’t lack of tinkering with squad and tactics one of the cases against Arsene?

Irrespective of the tactics and players Emery will select from his squad at the moment, there are at least four players that must start barring injuries, fitness or suspension issues. They are Leno, Niles (mainly due to absence of Bellerin), Aubameyang and Xhaka.

I noticed from the complaints of fans that among the players listed above, Xhaka’s inclusion is always a subject of criticism. This is due to two factors. One is the divisive perceptions of football lovers on defensive/holding midfield players. The other factor is the availability of details about players from the coaches point of view, and the viewers/spectators point of view. Both factors are closely related.

Take a sample from fans about qualities of their ideal defensive/holding midfield players, you will see variances in their descriptions. From experience, no two world class players in that position, both present and past, have exactly the same skill sets, hence there will always be division among fans about the most suitable skill of players due to the fact that they base their judgment on other world class players.

Some of the obvious reasons Xhaka is picked are his physical strength compared to his colleagues; his passing abilities; his shooting and reading of the game, and the shape of the team. His fitness is another plus to his qualities. Two of his major weaknesses are lack of speed and lack of tackling ability. Though the former is a natural and individual issue, I think he has improved a bit in the latter. When was the last time he picked a red card? Passing the ball backward to defenders or keeper is one of the subjects of criticism. I think this shouldn’t be blamed on the passer alone. Passing depends on availability of players to pass to, their positions and the positions of the tackling opposite players. I feel the frequency of his passing the ball backward sometimes overemphasized.

Few fans have drawn attention to reasons why he is picked by coaches. From the Swiss coach to club coaches. Initially it was a case of Arsene always picking his favourite boys. Now it is Emery. This is due to fact that there are certain needs in some players that coaches have, that fans/spectators just don’t see.

Granit Xhaka, despite his criticism and his well-known errors is one of two players with enormous talent and experience among the Arsenal midfield players. The other is Mesut Ozil. Painfully so, the importance of these players are sometimes shadowed by results and other non-sporting issues. Let’s support our own.

BY I

54 Comments

  1. Frédéric slimane says:

    OT: congratulations to Matteo he’s been called up to the french national team!!?

  2. ThirdManJW says:

    Xhaka is basically a midfield version of Mustafi. They both look decent at times, but make too many key mistakes, as we saw yet again with Xhaka.

  3. Vic says:

    One funny thing is that he seems to play well in swiz national team… Xhaka is a good player when we have the ball ,when we don’t he is terrible..
    Our current team has better defensive midfielders I want to believe but I hope Emery can see it..

    1. NY_Gunner says:

      @Vic
      I think he has the ability to be a good player,depending on who he’s paired with. He needs to be paired with a good B2B with a better recovery time than his. Would like to see him and Niles paired in mid, just to see if my theory holds… IJS

  4. Loose Cannon says:

    If Ozil had started in place of Xhaka we would not have that stupid goal.When Lucas and Guendozi present, I’d take Ozil over Xhaka although I am critical of Ozil’s performance. With Emery we are losing our identity as an attacking team.I’d even take Mourinho over Emery, at least he knows when to park and how to park the bus.And Mourinho has won all the major honours available.

  5. robertoy says:

    Look, Xhaka may have blood rush to the head syndrome but he is sadly the ONLY long range threat of the team. Sometimes we need long shots outside the box he’s the ONLY one capable. He may not be quarter-back but he definitely showed flashes of brilliance. This is dilemma for me but I say give him last chance this season.

    1. Gunner4life says:

      You don’t play someone bc he sucks at everything but can hit a long shot 1/15 games.

  6. Eddie says:

    “Arsenal fans may not like Xhaka – but Emery does, so he needs our support”

    Immediately I read the headline, the answer that came straight to me is a big NO HE DOESN’T!!

    Wait, do you guys even care about what most fans feel or what fans been going through for the past fifteen years?
    Like woah! Hold on, just because Emery likes and rates him means he’s what we need and need to support him?
    Bullshít.
    The sooner Emery gets did of him, the sooner he starts getting his match day selections right.
    We’ve support mediocrity for too long, we condoned and supported mediocrity under Wenger later in his years, us the fans neared the shame of other fans throw at us.
    We get called names, I’ve been told lots of times how TF did I ended up supporting a team as Arsenal that’s unreliable?
    And you know what? I’m sure I’m not the only fan that has gotten that bullshít from people.
    Even those who don’t watch football, tend to laugh and term Arsenal as a joke of a team.
    My response normally is all those glory years while Arsenal dominated the EPL esp the invincibles era, was Arsenal a joke?
    I get silly responses.

    You know what? to get back to that top position and start being serious, we need to start working towards it and getting rid of the poor players we have in our team.
    It involves getting rid of players not good enough, which we’ve started, I don’t need anyone making excuses for Xhaka because he’s done the same thing over and over again, not once, not twice, not thrice!!
    What else do you need to see the truth about him?

    I’ll tell you a story, one everyone hates to admit, Giroud wasnt actually the fastest player, Giroud isn’t world class, wasn’t world class, Giroud failed to show up lots of times but you know what?
    Giroud defended and covered up for our back four more than Xhaka has ever done!
    Giroud was slow despite everyone knowing his strengths, Wenger kept his faith in him, but us fans got tired after many years of supporting him.
    Guess what? He realized Giroud isn’t what the answer, We got Lacazette and PEA. Giroud left.
    Everyone happy!
    Giroud as a slow player contributed to this club with lesser number of games he played more Xhaka has ever done with the numbers of games he’s played at this club.

    Yet he was casted out and weeded out by fans,
    why should Xhaka who’s worse in his position be different ?
    He doesn’t have my support

    1. NY_Gunner says:

      @Eddie
      OG might have been slow, but but he was one of the best target men around. He was also good on set pieces, as well as what you stated defending our box. But there’s 2 players who fans drooled over who should have been sent packing and that’s Wilshere and Ramsey. Given Jack had a brilliant football brain, but for a short dude, didn’t know how to utilise his low center of gravity, and lack of pace, thus he couldn’t take on defenders. And yeah Aaron might have given us some trophy winning goals, but dude was constantly prone to leaving his midfield partner in the lurch as he bombed forward and wasn’t able to recover in time before opposing teams ran through us. So,it’s not only the manager or coach who are oblivious to their faves shortcomings and failures…

  7. Tommogun58 says:

    I see one thing, HE’S CRAP.

  8. Innit says:

    Xhaka is a weak link now. He’s a good passer. That’s it. Obviously if he’s on the pitch I’ll support him but he should NOT start

    The CM who Should start are
    CM: Torreira, Guendouzi/Wilock/Ceballos,
    CAM: Ceballos/Ozil

    No start Xhaka,Mkthryan, Mustafi

    1. WiserthanWenger says:

      Xhaka has never been a good passer , most of the time he passes into space or to the opponent.

    2. OR Baitwa says:

      Innit my exact thinking. Every time I see those 3 players in the team ie Xhaka,Mkthryan and Mustafi plus the other defender with a long name my sinks. In the Spurs game he ought to have substituted Xhaka instead of workhorse Torreira much as he has lost confidence lately because he is aware Manager doesn’t believe in him.

  9. WiserthanWenger says:

    When i saw in your article ” his passing abilities; his shooting and reading of the game ” , i puked ! Since when Xhaka has such abilities ?? What game have you been watching ? Even if you are desperate to defend him – due to your own persoanl agenders , pls don’t twist the facts , which makes your whole article not convincing at all .

    1. lol says:

      He’s watching the same game as you, but has different opinions.

      Think you are confused between what’s an opinion with what’s a fact

      1. WiserthanWenger says:

        I saw what the majority of Arsenal fans saw on the pitch.

        When you stated something that’s not correct in an article , I have my right to voice out my different opinion as well , don’t I ?

        Looks like you are the one who is confused !

        And U don’t try to stifle other fans ‘s right to voice out their different opinions too ! !

  10. Sue says:

    I’m sorry, but I’m done with Xhaka

    1. Mogunna says:

      I hear you Sue. Xhaka gendouzi torreira wont solve our defense issue, but top defenders and beast DM in front of 2CDs. Then we can play a creative and attacking midfield or are a DM upon tactics. Useless to point xhaka or y, Z, we missing 2CD, DM, RB Shen Bellerin injured and a LB. That’s all defense line-up at this day, unreal! Pepe or Ronaldo or together wont solve this nor our midfield. Football very basic is to attacking and defend or it is simply no game! It looks so effortless to get into our swisz cheeze defense; xhaka is Swiss but we full of holes without him!

  11. AndersS says:

    In a way I feel sorry for Xhaka. He wasn’t a DM when he played in Germany. But we have missed a great DM for so many years, and I guess maybe Wenger thought he could turn Xhaka into that great DM. I think that was a mistake, and he has been judged as a DM ever since.
    I actually think Emery knows, Xhaka isn’t a “pure” DM so he is trying to find a combination on the midfield, where at least 2 of the midfielders share the majority of the defensive work.
    I also think Xhaka actually has done well not only this season but also big parts of last season.
    You would think, that when both Wenger and Emery have played him so much, he is better than what many fans think.

    1. WiserthanWenger says:

      you don’t need to feel sorry for him as he is happily collecting his fat pay cheque every week while helping Arsenal to lose game!

      I don’t care what Emery/Wenger saw in Xhaka , for me it’s his perfomance in the field that counts !

      He is neither a DM nor a CM , and too slow to be a box-to-box , poor passing rate , can’t read the game , can’t distribute the ball , what the hell is he ? if i could , i would give him away for free , intead of keeping such a liability !

    2. Zulazly says:

      Am still thinking, Xhaka is amazing.

    3. Tommogun58 says:

      Really???

  12. CorporateMan says:

    Xhaka simply isn’t a defensive midfielder. He can’t time his tackles. He can’t get in front of attackers.
    We need a proper DM who can shield that back four. Torreira would have been it, but he lacks the physical presence. Big, strong attackers can always brush him aside and have their way.

    1. Atid says:

      I’m done with him too. For me now he doesn’t make my 22. The first x1 would be my weekend team (playing Friday-Monday) and the 2nd x1 would be my midweek team (Tuesday-Thursday)

      Leno/Martinez
      Bellerin/Niles
      Chambers/Sokratis
      Holding/Mavropanos
      Tierney/Kolasinac
      Torreira/Luiz
      Guendozi/Willock
      Ceballos/Ozil
      Pepe/Nelson
      Lacazette/Martinelli
      Aubameyang/Smith-Rowe

      Macey, Mustafi and Xhaka only just make the 25

      1. Diogenes says:

        This.

        With 4 at the back Luiz won’t work out.

        But he’s a better DM than Chambers, Xhaka or whoever can be a backup to Torreira.

  13. Ayo says:

    You are trying hard to make a case for Xhaka…you agreed that he is slow and poor at tackling. And he is supposed to be our DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER.

    Even in this article, you cannot say for certain what his exceptional ability is without mincing words. You are defending his sideway and back passes. I have seen David Luiz, with all his fault throw more successful long range passes than him. We can’t have Luiz, Sokratis and Xhaka protecting our goal and expect not to concede lot of silly goals.

    Xhaka is midtable French League team standard at best.

    1. Barbie1945 says:

      AYO, well said there, it is the truth what you have written. please dont tell me we are going to begin a xhaka fanboy club !. having the ozil fanboy club is more than enough to wreck ones head.some people feel the need to flog dead horses for some reason here. ozil being the biggest dead nag of all .i believe he is being wrapped in cotton wool for the very important worthless cup games.he is going to be unleashed on the unsuspecting 2nd string teams from the championship and below.carnage will occur, cannot wait.

      1. RSH says:

        Xhaka has never been good enough at any point to even have a fanbase.

  14. dudu says:

    Xhaka will sack Emery the Spanish mourihno

  15. RSH says:

    Nope, i’m over it. This season is already wearing me out and August just finished. We’ve yet to have one performance to be proud of. Emery quickly looking like an average manager way out of his depth.

  16. NY_Gunner says:

    @Vic
    I think he has the ability to be a good player,depending on who he’s paired with. He needs to be paired with a good B2B with a better recovery time than his. Would like to see him and Niles paired in mid, just to see if my theory holds… IJS

  17. Agu Emen says:

    I doubt that criticism aimed at Emery or Xhaka
    for example worries either of them.
    I heard that after the Spurs draw Xhaka consoled
    himself by buying a Ferrari 488 Spider 🙂
    Emery bought himself a new villa near Seville.
    I shouted my self a $2 pack of digestive biscuits.
    They gave me indigestion 🙂

    1. jon fox says:

      “They” gave you indigestion? Or Xhaka did? I know which one I believe!

  18. McLovin says:

    Xhaka is horrendous to watch.

    Errors lead to conceding since 2016:

    Xhaka 7

    The most of ANY player in the Premier League. How can anyone justify that? Mustafi is not that far with 3.

    1. Ackshay says:

      mustafi makes less mistakes and is more consistent overall than xhaka but gets more negative reactions. I have seen more good to great matches by mustafi than xhaka

  19. Ackshay says:

    xhaka in the correct system with the correct partners will be a good player but he doesn’t have or deserve that special privilege at arsenal. This is means he will struggle and limit our scope of progress. If we keep our current mid of torreira, guendouzi, ceballos and add a tall and tough mid like fernandinho or fabinho our mid will be good.

    This current squad has passion and determination rarely seen after the fabregas years. Guendouzi, ceballos,torreira, lacazette, holding, bellerin, tierney, willock have one common thing they play with their heart and give their all. kolasinac, sokratis, luiz, xhaka, mustafi despite their deficiencies also fight for the team going overboard sometimes. Aubameyang gives us that superstar bonus. pepe gives us someone willing and able to dribble and scare defenders.
    most of the player that are struggling or not selected by emery lack that quality; ozil, mkhi, nelson, AMN(rotates between passionate and lazy concentration),

  20. Tom says:

    Koscielny Iwobi Ospina Monreal Jenkinson Eleny and Mhikt and Mustafi on the cards to leave.
    I think it is fair to say Unai is not one for soft spots for players.

    Torriera is not up to point to play week in week out yet for arsenal. Language and stamina is the main issues. Gendouzi is still a kid. Xhaka is the most stable current option. Outside of his clumsiness he has vision for a long pass, ability to move the ball on, offer balance (being left footed)…and occasionally make well timed tackles.

    But beyond that fact, he needs to read the game better to make up for his pace. But unfortunately I dont see the ‘little einstein’ he was talked up as being!!!!

    Still, he needs to be supported. As long as he puts that shirt on he needs to be supported.

    1. jon fox says:

      No he does not need to be supported. He needs to leave. He is useless and lacks all the vital necessities of any top Prem player; pace, mobility, awareness and some evidence of a football brain. He is hotheaded, slow, clumsy, and just a rank bad buy.

      1. Tom says:

        As long as if any arsenal player puts on a shirt on match day il support them then boo them for 90 mins. It doesnt help our team. Dislike players for poor performance…etc is fine…I even said at half time, xhaka in my eyes is done.

        But when arsenal play il support the team.

        But I appreciate your frustration with him. We have alot less of these frustrating players then 36 months ago thankfully…working progress is AFC right now

        1. Rkw says:

          What doesn’t help the team is a manager playing this joker week in week out … the shirt business is just psycho babble

  21. Viju Jacob says:

    For a moment I thought it was written by Josh Sippie of Pain In The Arsenal, who is a diehard Xhaka fan.

    Xhaka has his positives, but he cannot adapt to teams playing fast so he seems to be out of position to me a majority of the time. I always tear my hair with his passing abilities. For example, in the game against Newcastle all the players are loaded on the right side of the pitch and Xhaka gets the ball in the centre circle, with Reiss Nelson darting into acres of space on the left looking for a pass. And what does Xhaka do? He passed the ball back towards Leno…he actually rolled it almost.
    Let’s not talk about his passing accuracy now because he passes sideways and back and most of the time they are short passes. Rarely one can see a defence splitting pass from him, though there was one yesterday.

    He is our player, so I won’t diss him, but he was a wrong pick, and does wrong stuff game after game. Emery needs some bollocking for picking him always – he may do well against teams in the bottom half, but then he does a Brighton there too

  22. Ethiogooner says:

    Welcome to the yearly annual SCAPEGOAT bashing of the new season! (big applause)
    …. xhaka seems to be the clear runner to take up the role for this season’s scapegoat as the previous scapegoats i.e (iwobi,mustafi,mhkitaryan & elneny) have all fled the scene except one who’s been demoted to the bench until he finds a suitor.

    Now in my opinion xhaka is one hell of a player and like hell metaphorically speaking, he’s got some hot and cold in his game. But for me the hot stuff outweighs the cold stuff.

    Now mind you i absolutely draded his playing style for the most part that he’s been here because of SANTI CAZORLA. He was introduced to us fans after we lost santi to a long term injury.
    As the OG ADMIN brilliantly stated

    ” hence there will always be division among fans about the most suitable skill of players due to the fact that they base their judgment on other world class players.”

    Xhaka was the victim of circumstances! And let’s be honest We never gave him a real chance to begin with because of what we lost in santi. I for one have now understood his game style and what he brings to the table and i’ve come to love it and enjoy it!

    1. jon fox says:

      Then you know nothing about football!

      1. Ethiogooner says:

        Hey jon would you care to elaborate sir?

        1. jon fox says:

          YES. You like Xhaka who is useless, so it follows you know nothing about football players ability. Perhaps I should have more accurately specified that exact phrase.

          1. Ethiogooner says:

            That reply alone sums you up as a person and a fan! I’ll school you about football old man.

        2. jon fox says:

          School me? What would YOU know about education. You think a useless player is good. That says it all about YOUR so called football education. Non existent!

          1. Ethiogooner says:

            I won’t give you the satisfaction of relevance (as that is what you desperately want judging by your blatant comments on here) so i’ll stop here!

    2. John0711 says:

      Wow just wow what a fantasy world you live in about Xhaka

      1. Ethiogooner says:

        No mate far from it’s actually to the contrary, i accepted the reality. Which you lot can’t do. which is xhaka is the only one in the team that is good at what he does,he’s a very good player and i stand by it.

  23. Grandad says:

    I cannot go along with the reasoning that we must support a player because the Manager selects him when I know he is one of the reasons for our failures during the past 2/3 seasons.The Club will always be more important than any individual player and to my mind we would be more successful without the likes of Xhaka, Sokratis and Luiz.

  24. Le Coq Monster says:

    According to Martin Keown, Wenger was so dismayed by Xhaka`s tackling that he told him not to bother tackling at all !
    Do what I used to do..stay on feet and just jockey the opponent !…………it`s impossible to give away a penalty if you dont have contact !

    1. jon fox says:

      And according to many tens of thousands of Arsenal fans we “were so dismayed by Wenger’s managing that we told him not to bother managing at all”! At least he listened and left. Why doesn’t Xhaka listen!

  25. tony says:

    I can only imagine that the writer of this particular article was somewhat under the influence of alcohol when he scribed his thoughts.
    With a totally clear mind……. Xhakas performance yesterday was totally woeful.
    Went up for headers and misjudged them, on several occasions he actually missed the ball. He is static with no engine. He gave too many free kicks away, several in dangerous areas. Got booked AGAIN. Too many misplaced passes ( a slight improvement in the second half). Don’t get me started on the penalty.
    The annoying thing is that I could write the same thing practically every week.
    Then you hear ” oh he’s got a hard shot”
    Captain……… MY Ar#E

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