Arteta explains how he taught Xhaka how to “fulfil the talent”

Mikel Arteta seems to have improved most of the Arsenal players he has added to the team, but the most surprising change has been to convert granit Xhaka, our “defensive maverick with an agressive streak” into an “attacking midfielder with an eye for a goal” ahead of this campaign.

The Swiss captain has moved further up the pitch for Arsenal and is not afraid to shoot when he gets his chances. He has already scored 4 goals this season, which is more than he has ever scored in a full season before, and because he is not being used so defensively any more, he is much less likely to be cautioned for reckless tackles, and giving away ridiculous penalties.

So how did Arteta manage to change our veteran midfielder’s state of mind after all those years in the one position? Let Mikel tell you. This is what he told Jamie Carragher on Sky last night: “I spoke to him at the end of the season and said, ‘I need to unlock something in your brain because you’re so comfortable and confident playing in this area that you have forgot what is actually going to win us the game and the team now demands somebody here, so unless you unlock that I’m going to have to do something about it’.

“He took it straight away. He’s a very intelligent player, he came to pre-season fitter than ever, slimmer than ever, and he knew that if we wanted to take the team to a different level we had to change his role. He knew that was coming.

“We believed he has those qualities, those qualities were there to be exploited and they were hiding.

“The team needed those qualities very much. As I said, he is extremely intelligent, he has the physical capacity to constantly threat and occupy those spaces and recover his position quickly enough to have the balance we need.

“He’s been really consistent, the way he trains, the way he practises, to evolve to the demands we want for the team.

“He’s a special person. He’s very straight, he’s very honest, he’s very loyal and he’s very passionate about what he does.

“So when you have someone like that you want to help him, you want to protect him, you want him to fulfil the talent he has.

“He’s made some mistakes and he’s learnt from it, but he has always faced adveristy and difficulty and he’s never run away from it.

“This is what all managers wants from their players. You know you can count on him, he will fight and break walls for you. This is what we expect from our players.”

Xhaka is probably the best example we have that Arteta can get the best from his players.

Trust the process…..


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  1. Wonder if some on here will admit being wrong about Xhaka, they know who they are.

    If they can’t admit being wrong then that means Arteta is wrong and since they support him 100% he can’t be wrong.

    Well lets see people comment and if they can admit this.

    Or maybe they are too old.and set in their ways to do so.

    Personally, I always knew Xhaka had it in him and he played further forward before moving to us.

    So I don’t really think Arteta can be credited for unlocking something that was there already.

    I can credit him for changing his positioning further forward though and how they team has been setup to cope with that defensively.

    Two years late though,but better late than never from the rookie.

    1. I don’t think you have followed xhakas career. It was people like you that wanted wenger out and also Arteta out… give credit to Arteta, he’s done marvellously with the guy

      1. How was I offensive?

        People on this site imply others are dim witted, snow flakes etc. Yet they remain.

        Anyway,again I apologize but standards should all be the same.

      1. @admin I dnt support his comment, but theres nothing wrong with having arguments, it’s fun, we learn, provided there’s no insult. I think Harry and Eddie gave him the best answer. Micro-managing your site can also be detrimental too

        1. You can make suggestions but I am very careful with my management. I have seen times with massive animosity and I will now nip it in the bud.
          I only interfere when it gets personal…

      2. Understood, personally I don’t see myself exciting any argument and merely debate.

        I have said much less than others who remain commenting,none the less I will not question those and agree with everything a pro Arteta says.

        It seems like someone Pro Arsenal and not Arteta can’t have an opinion.

        Sad the world we live in and I know I will be banned and this comment removed.

        It just amazes me how Jon Fox can constantly insult people and JustArsenal yet he remains commenting.

        Anyway,rant over and I apologize to anyone offended.

        1. Right @scavenger. There you have made your obvious error. Everyone is allowed an opinion but when you are particularly upset with ONE person then it becomes a personal vendetta.
          Just air your opinion but stop taking things personally. There lies madness!
          Try and relax eh?

    2. Which of the Xhaka are you saying played further forward? Or like Harry said, you actually never followed his career.
      Xhaka was always a central midfielder who has always played with a proper holding midfielder alongside himself since his Basel days to Germany.
      Arsene Wenger was responsible for pushing him back and switch his position into a defensive midfielder. Specifically as a feel lying playmaker.
      So I don’t know when Xhaka has ever played forward

      Even for Switzerland what’s he’s always played was the central midfield pairing alongside another DM

    3. @scarvenger At some point I didn’t really trust xhaka, I thought he was slow, error prone. Although I wasn’t vocal about, I figured if the coach trust him so should I. But to say Arteta didn’t contribute in his present success in d pitch, u are nt been honest with yourself and u are not in right position to tell others to admit been wrong about xhaka

  2. I’ll admit i was wrong. and its ok to be wrong but there’s never any need to be offensive – its only football. i always liked his character but felt he was too slow, cumbersome and left footed for the middle of midfield. i didnt foresee the change in position for him, but then i’m not arteta. happy days.

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