The Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has hit back at his critics today, in an attempt to silence those who say he’s reckless on the pitch.
Xhaka was previously criticised by the fans for his reckless behaviour on the pitch, which has seen him pick up a terrible record of bookings during his first season with the Gunners. Manager Arsene Wenger has also had his say on the matter and he believes that Xhaka just doesn’t have the natural talent of tackling, and that he should look to better his technique in training.
I find it quite difficult to understand how a player who primarily plays as a central midfielder, often with plenty of defensive duties, doesn’t know how to tackle effectively with the correct technique. Furthermore, when Wenger identified him as being a man who could add to our struggling midfield in the tackle and strengthen our poor defensive record, why on earth was £35 million spent on a player with a reckless tackling ability?
Xhaka hit out at his critics however, by stating that he isn’t quite as reckless as they suggest. In an Evening Standard report, Xhaka is quoted as saying: “I’m not that easy to knock down, nobody can destroy me. But I’m bothered by people who call me dirty, dumb, and brainless. You don’t say words like those to people you don’t know.”
“That’s my game. If you take it away from me, I’m not the same anymore. I’ve analysed my sendings off and many off the fouls took place before the half way line, 60 to 70 meters from our goal. That’s too far away. That has to stop. But I don’t go out on the pitch and pull out of a tackle.”
Personally I think Xhaka really does have to step up his game. He’s been inconsistent during the opening year of his Arsenal career and his disciplinary record is shameful. Considering he’s in the top three most expensive transfers of our club’s history, you really do expect more from the summer signing and he can’t even get into the starting eleven in a consistent basis. Of course it may be too early to judge, but Xhaka really has been hit and miss with the fans and we’ll be expecting much better from the Swiss international in the next campaign.
I think his little outburst to the media here may have a bit of a poor reaction on his part, especially if he continues to get booked on a regular basis. He’s subject to no different treatment by the referees and just needs to be able to control his challenge and improve his technique. If he continues to get booked, then everything he’s said could potentially be thrown back in his face. Therefore it’ll be an interesting few weeks to see if Xhaka does continue to be reckless on the pitch, or if we see any improvements in his defensive abilities.