Granit Xhaka’s Arsenal career is the perfect script for a Hollywood blockbuster

Granit Xhaka’s incredible comeback at Arsenal by Dan Smith

If this were a movie it would start with Granit Xhaka scoring our third goal on Sunday, celebrating with the gesture he promised his daughter. It seems a happy enough moment, a player with his highest goal tally ever in a campaign, his club top of the League, with the crowd chanting his name – and in that stadium his baby girl whom he promised he would acknowledge if he got on the scoresheet.

In reality, the context is darker.

This is the same child who some ‘fans’ wished got cancer. Oh and a desire for his wife to die.

What did Granit Xhaka ever do wrong to warrant these threats? He was judged at not being good at his job.

Our film could flashback to when the midfielder faced the same opposition in the same venue back in 2019 when he was subbed off with the score lines at 2-2.

His response to some jeers from the stands was to cup his ears, encourage the chanting before eventually throwing down the captain’s armband.

When he resisted Unai Emery’s suggestion that he publicly apologise, many assumed he would never play for Arsenal again.

Next scene the 30 year old made it clear to Arteta that he was prepared to leave. I always admired him for being willing to die on his sword. He has his moral compass and he wasn’t going to sacrifice his principles no matter the consequences.

His family was more important than sport, and he wasn’t going to have them abused based on something so trivial.

I can tell you for a fact some of the same readers who preach to me about negativity have constantly been negative towards the Swiss captain (including this campaign).

Despite three Gunners managers tactically trusting Xhaka ,he’s often been a scapegoat among our fanbase, just like Giroud, Mustafi, Bellerin, etc.

The difference with Xhaka and his peers is he was willing to stand up those cowards, making it clear the level of abuse he was experiencing and turning the attention back onto ‘supporters’.

He put pressure on fan channels who built their views on who can shout the loudest and how many swear words they can use.

Still some Gooners struggle to admit some of their peers were wrong and crossed that line.

Ending of the movie?

Granit Xhaka lifting the Premier League trophy.

He will do it having won his critics over and proven his doubters wrong.

He did it by not adhering to pressure and staying true to his convictions.

Where others may of said sorry because it was the easy solution, his education told him to only say those words if he meant it.

He’s 10 games away from immortality, from becoming a legend, from being remembered for ever.

Perfect finale.


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  1. Well, he does look like Henry Cavill

    I really hope he wins EPL this season. He rarely gets injured and never hides from physical challenges in the field

    I think he can be a good manager in the future, because of his tactical understanding, leadership and passion

    1. I think he is going to be a great and successful manager if he takes that route and can imagine his style of football 😂

  2. Those waste of space trash that abused him will never apologise or admit their wrongdoings. Why? it takes a special kind of mental illness to wish death or cancer on a player’s family regardless of what he’s done.

  3. There is a reason Thomas Partey says he would like to play in a midfield with Granite Xhaka one year prior to joining Arsenal.
    Thomas Partey arguably the best player playing in his position at the time to make a statement like that tells me something about the man. I still have Partey as one of the best defensive midfielder in the world.

    There must be a reason why all three managers trust Xhaka to lead the team, inspite of various armchair managers calling him names and for him to leave the club.

    I said it earlier in this campaign if Arsenal should go on to lift the big jug, Xhaka would firmly on his way to be a legend and I was crucify for my comment.

    But the comeback kid is ten games away from solidifying his legacy.

  4. Such a difference it made having Xhaka a CM rather than DM. Great adjustment by Arteta and great adjustment by Xhaka.

    Happily the fans and team benefited from the change, and glad to see things worked out.

    Xhaka had more to offer than I supposed and I happily admit I misjudged him, for what it’s worth. Didn’t see him changing after all his previous years with the club.

  5. What a difference he’s been this season compared to all of his years with Arsenal. If only Wenger, Emery & Arteta had spotted his potential before he’d have been such a class act, the “incident” would never have taken place & he’d still be our captain, instead of just team leader.

  6. Hello Dan, I haven’t been your biggest fan, but this article was good reading.

    I have never turned my back to Xhaka, but I haven’t always been convinced he had Arsenal quality, but Chaka has strong character and Arteta has worked wonders with club and individuals 🫶

    1. The misspelling of Xhaka name I see regularly here is it intentional? If people could spell Martesacker, Vermaelen, Kolscieny, Scezeny, Djorou, Aliadiere, Chamakh, Tomiyasu etc I don’t see why it’s difficult for Granit.

      In my culture intentional spelling or pronunciation of a person name denotes a dislike or considering a person lower than the speller. It’s a form of intentional disrespect.

      I am not accusing you of anything by the way please don’t take it another way.

      1. Sorry about that HH, I’m Norwegian and not perfect like you. By the way how many languages are you talking 😁

      2. HH What are you talking about, re misspelling? One person only made a single typo and mistakenly referred to Chaka, though he also mentioned Xhaka in the same post.

        As for regular misspelling of his name, I DO NOT SEE IT AT ALL.
        I have not see a single misspelling of his name which is anything other than a mere typo,which is sensibly ignored by wiser fans.

        BTW, I noted YOU misspelled Mertesacker AND some other ex players you listed.

        The biter bit, my muddled friend!!

          1. DIDRIK, YOU ARE MOST WELCOME, as I never like to see sensible folk who have done nothing wrong, foolishly and incorrectly challenged. Simple as that my friend.


      3. Consider that in my culture x and c are next to each other on the keyboard so it is far from uncommon to hit the wrong key

  7. Dan, you have never been shy in naming names, so I wonder why you haven’t in this article?
    Just as Viera is now getting the abuse, so we have, unfortunately down the years, seen players treated in a disgusting way by our keyboard fans.
    Not sure if you’re old enough to remember David Price or Jon Sammels, but they were targeted as well.
    The difference today, of course, is the Internet, where morons can hide behind keyboards and spill out bile to their hearts content, without any fear of reprisal.
    The Arsenal would kick them out of the ground if they started shouting out their kind of “support” for our club and it’s players.

    Of course, any film has to have a leading lady and I propose the one and only SUE
    , who, sadly, seems to have departed JA.
    She never gave up on Xhaka and would always defend him.

        1. I was born in 1961 and became an Arsenal supporter in 70/71. I do remember Jon Sammels but not Mr. Price. We had one tv channel sending one game from England every Saturday. My dear father bought Goal and Shoot to me so I could look at the photos, and learn my first English words 🫶

        2. Agree with you Ken1945. I liked David Price. Never got the recognition he deserved. He always put in a good shift. He scored some handy goals for Arsenal in the 70s. Wasn’t always one for scoring spectacular goals, but was always well positioned in around the six yard box/ penalty area to score from loose balls. Some people also forget the amount of assists he made for Frank Stapleton and Alan Sunderland. He was a hard worker and an excellent scrapper in winning 50/50 balls. He always played with his socks rolled down. He never showed his emotions on the pitch. I really liked him

          1. Same here PJ and the stick he got was unreal.
            Last I heard, David was driving a taxi around London – can you imagine ANY of today’s players doing that?!?!

  8. Agree wholeheartedly. Have always felt Xhaka was undroppable in a starting XI. Never felt otherwise.

  9. I was so disgusted by the gang of our fans that abused him during that game a few seasons back.
    I have never been so triggered. During that game nearly the whole stadium were on Xhaka’s back from minute one. The tension the guy was under, nearly every little misstep or touch was booed, every time he came anywhere near the touch line you had grown men children abusing, cussing and disparaging him for no mature reason whatsoever.

    The guy had been provoked all week on his social media platforms, then it carried on into the stadium. But then the same men children got all triggered like little entitled snowflakes when he stood up against them for his own pride.

    To this day thinking about that incident still makes my blood boil.

    1. After putting him through all that and yet he remained strong and unshaken and he is having the last laugh must be a bitter pill to swallow to the abusers.

  10. I can’t be certain that I didn’t criticise a performance by Xhaka, as the truth is that I cannot remember

    What I am absolutely sure about it that I would never ever wish anybody ill and that includes their nearest and dearest. It is appalling to think about it and I was shocked to the core that cruelty might have won the day

    Moving in from there, it truly does show GX in a strong light as a character to put the awfulness behind him and to stick the proverbial middle finger up to those who regularly derided him.

    1. Sue Speaking as a fan who HAS relentlessly criticised Xhaka, as a player only, over the years, only this seaon having now changed my mind about his play, I WHOLHEARTEDLY support your shock and horror at the ghastly personal criticism and sheer hate directed at his FAMILY that awful day.

      He has indeed showed immense character to stand against the crowd and I admire that immensely.

      But I still hope we can replace him next season with someone better as a player. Though it will be a very hard task indeed to match his character. I want him to remain here in fact, but not be first choice in his position. Though I expect him to choose to move on, if that happens, as I think likely.

      1. Jon
        It pleases me no end that he has shown the strength of character to overcome those who had only wickedness in their minds and hearts.
        I remember regretting writing that David Luiz should never wear the shirt again after doing something totally reckless which changed the course of the match for the worse. It was the heat of the moment.
        Back to Granit, he is the type of player that would be a bonus to keep on even as a squad player in his later playing years. He has the strength of character to build a career post playing

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