Granit Xhaka gives brutal assessment of Arsenal players after Newcastle collapse

Xhaka gives brutally honest interview

A win at St. James Park would have put Arsenal in the driving seat to finish in the Champions League spot. However, the team looked a shadow of their own self on Monday night. When it mattered the most, the Gunners crumbled.

To finish in the top four, the red half of North London will now have to get a win against Frank Lampard’s Everton, while also praying for Norwich to get the better of Tottenham Hotspur.

No words can describe how poor Mikel Arteta’s men have been in the past two league games, and former captain of the team Granit Xhaka didn’t hold back in his assessment after the game.

“It’s so difficult to find the right words,” the Swiss international told Sky Sports. “We didn’t deserve to be on the pitch today.”

On being asked why his team were so awful against Newcastle, the 29-year-old said, “I can’t explain to you why. We didn’t do what the game plan was, not listening to the coach, doing our own things and when you do that, these games happen.”

He continued, “What happened was a disaster performance and like this, you don’t deserve to play Champions League, you don’t even deserve to play Europa League.”

Even though it might sound harsh, everything he said was true. League table doesn’t lie at the end of the campaign. And if you have finished where you have, that’s because it’s the position you deserve to stand at.

Xhaka didn’t stop there in his critical assessment. He further stated, “If someone isn’t ready for this game, stay at home. It doesn’t matter the age, you can be 30, you can be 35, you can be 10, you can be 18. If you’re not ready or you’re nervous, stay on the bench, stay at home, don’t come here. We need people to have balls, sorry to say that, to come here and play.”

He finished his interview by saying sorry to the Arsenal fans. “I feel very, very sorry for the Arsenal supporters. This is not the way we wanted to go. It’s the only thing I can say, it’s to say sorry. Other things, I don’t have other words.”

A finish in the top four is all but over unless a miracle strikes. After being in such a good position all season, Arsenal have messed it up.

But what has happened has happened. We need to move on at some point of time to continue the progress we have made.

However hard it might seem now, we have to stay together, because the storms were always expected to come.

Yash Bisht

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Tags Newcastle Xhaka


  1. He’s defending the coach by saying that the players didn’t listen to the manager’s instructions. I’m sure deep down he knows the truth

  2. Tbh, as soon as I saw our captain in the players tunnel before the game, I knew we had already lost the game. He was scared shitless the moment you heard those 52k Toon fans sing.

    That’s also the way he and most of the team played. Hiding, shaky on the ball. We really missed leadership and personality.

    Also our bench just isn’t near good enough. Tavares, Cedric, Holding, Elneny.. It’s just nowhere near the level we should aim, even for a squad player.

  3. One thing I don’t understand is the coach and the players have come out numerous time to let know that we were fighting for the top4.
    But you see some fans here claiming top4 was never the target..
    So why the players and coach was targeting top4 finish, some fans have already settled for top6. Can’t blame them, maybe they don’t want to get their hopes too high.
    A genuine question, what’s the target for next season.
    Or top6 would be the target again??

    1. What will be the target next season will be clear after the summer transfer window is over. It would be foolish to believe any other talks of target through the manager or the players or even the Arsenal authority.

  4. What do you expect Xhaka to say if not to defend the coach? Scratch my back, I scratch yours kind of. You all are partners in progress in killing our club. As for the target, every coach or player will wish to play in Champions league. Those fans that said top 6 guarding against High blood pressure.

    1. Agree with the first part of your comment. As for the target, surely a club with the stature of Arsenal, the target should always be to win the league, and or, the FA cup/ league cup. Also, not aiming just to play in the champions league but to win it as well.

  5. My comments are probably not going to be shared but they are my opinion and I have a right to one.

    Until now I have been the one who never wanted Xhaka to wear our shirt. But today he has won over me.

    That kind of talk (maybe inappropriate in front of the media) is exactly what is required to hopefully give a kick up the backside of the team to start the next season.

    He is not the captain but he came out and spoke to the media after this dismal performance and apologised to the fans.

    Maybe I am finally beginning to comprehend why 3 managers have had him playing and also Jose Mourinho wanting him as he is the human who wears his heart on his sleeve and really cares for AFC despite having limited ability in the position he is playing. And yes I would say he is a leader of a sort.

    Although I have stated I want him gone before the start of next season I would actually like him to stay.

    1. IGL, As a far older fan than you, I TOO like honesty. It has been both my support and my personal cross to wear throughout my long life.

      I am ruthlessly honest, mostly with myself and also with others and am frequenty far too direct in how I say things. THAT directness causes my personal cross that I HAVE NO CHOICE OTHER THAN TO CARRY.
      I also believe that when facts change or circumstances evolve which prove one wrong or mistaken, then a mature attitude is to admit ones mistake and change you mind.

      You appear to have changed your mind on XHAKA but based only on what he said yesterday.

      I do not share your view and remain consistent in my personal view about Xhaka, in that what matters most is his lack of playing ability. We can nearly all, I suspect, firmly agree that he is a powerful personality.

      But football teams cannot win things based ONLY on personality. You NEED skill, which mean pace and mobility. He lacks both these vital things almost completely and no amount of his talks will change that.

      So, I liked your post in one respect, but thought it profoundly mistaken in its conclusion.

      1. Thanks Jon.
        Looks like both you and I are similar in that we rub many others the wrong way whilst others especially the sensitive ones who do not look at the content but on the way it is said.

        We are not is disagreement really as I also state that he has limited ability. He should be used sparingly and for selected games and more as a mentor and sub-coach. Every team needs them.

        He was bought originally to play like a Pirlo. But Pirlo was a quick thinker and Xhaka is not. Xhaka still possesses great passing ability which is required if we played a bit more like Switzerland do which may be required if Arteta bothers to develop a plan B.

        1. IGL, GREAT DEBATING WITH YOU. And good to speak with an educated person who can spell , punctuate and use English correctly. Its a sign of an orderly mind, I think!

          I constantly need to tidy up my many typos, as my typing is far too quick and not good at all.

          And yes, we do think similarly in general, I have noticed.

          But on Xhaka in particular I slightly differ, as I DEFINITELY want him gone this summer, as I have done for his whole time here.

          I see no real role for him, not as a mentor either, as he is not IMO himself a stable enough personality to be one. I also see great passing ability as only being of real use, if it is done with pace and speed of thought, which he lacks.

          1. Respect to you Jon.
            We shall agree to disagree even though we are in agreement on almost all the points.

  6. Of course what Xhaka said was correct. BUT coming from him of all people it will not help our cause one bit.

    What would help us is that he is moved on elsewhere this summer . All realists have known ever since his first few games for us 6 seasons ago, that while this powerful, (in physical and personality) player stays at our club, REAL and essential team progress is all but impossible . Many, even almost all, Gooners have at one time or other craved the exit of this player.

    But this last season , his brain farts have been less then previously(not absent altogether, but less) and together with the lack in midfield of other leaders, has meant SOME fans have now changed tack on him.

    Not me however – I see him as an obstacle to future success and have been resolutely consistent in my view for his whole time here. He needs to go. Now!

    So, and equally important, do the likes of the willing, likeable, but extremely limited Elneny who TBH, should never have been within a million miles of a club like ours.

    Too many Gooners by far seem reluctant to let clearly substandard players leave. I do not and never will understand that mentality coming from fans who presumably want team success. Quite how they expect that success with the like of these two duds is, to realists like me, a mystery.

  7. he was just as bad as everyone else. I don’t get all the Xhaka praise. He’s no leader, he was as quiet as the rest of the players yesterday. He isn’t talented enough, and is not a leader. And if he is a leader he is an ineffective one because Arsenal lose every important game that comes near them for well close to two decades now. So he’s just another in a long line of poor leaders. Look to Liverpool players and you will find actual leadership. Not at this club though, lets not pretend it’s there. Is there a rule a player has to be wearing the armband on the pitch, because if not, I’d just scrap it for next season because nobody there deserves it.

    1. Perhaps strong personalities is not what Arteta wants in the locker room. Arsenal has had a lack of leadership on the pitch for quite a few years, and can’t help think it’s by design at this point.

      Doesn’t seem Arteta favors vocal players, or at least those that speak their minds and call out others.

      Maybe it’s not about leaders on the pitch, but a preference for robots who follow orders.

  8. I do respect how he honestly answered the question. I like how he said if you aren’t ready then you should stay home or on the bench, anywhere except on the pitch.

    We need more of that, more accountability from the players and manager at Arsenal. Not throwing players under the bus, but acknowledging that the team effort was poor, mentality was weak, and performance was unacceptable.

    Not complaining about VAR, or the ref, or a dozen other things. Address the fact that players did not give 100%, show hunger, or respond to the previous game’s defeat.

      1. Fair enough point you bring up. I would also add that if Xhaka was not pleased by the lack of effort he saw on the pitch, then why not address those players at that time on the pitch.

        If he thought some should have stayed home as he put it, then get after those players during the game, Adams and PV certainly did.

        1. Too true Durand I do not rate Xhaka one bit. Our CM is awful. We need pace and power. We are not direct enough. We literally scarp over the line to win games

          I also commented on a previous post saying we have no leadership or personality

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