Should Arsenal worry about these recurring Xhaka mistakes?

It is lucky for the Arsenal fans, Arsene Wenger and especially the Swiss international midfield star Granit Xhaka that the Gunners were in fine flowing form yesterday, because I can only imagine what the backlash would have been like had Arsenal slipped to another away defeat or even just come back from Goodison Park with only a point.

As it was the fact that Arsenal concede first despite being on top did not matter, but on another day it could have. Xhaka played well for the rest of the game, showcasing some fine shooting skills to go with his passing range and combative abilities, but once again he made a silly error that cost us a goal.

Just last weekend at Watford Xhaka switched off and allowed Tom Cleverley the freedom of our penalty which he duly made the most of to score the winner. A point would have been bad enough against the Hornets because of the dodgy referee but to get nothing from that game was criminal. We would be in the top four right now if Xhaka had been on the ball.

These are not the only two occasions like this for the midfielder this season either. On the opening day we needed a late Giroud winner to beat Leicester after a Xhaka mistake gifted the Foxes a goal and the only goal at Stoke came about after a rank bad pass from Xhaka gave up possession in a dangerous area, so how much do we need to worry?

Surely Wenger has noted these incidents, but he seems to have Xhaka as a nailed on starter, so maybe it is just a matter of hammering home the need to concentrate for 90 minutes. I personally think that despite being a good player the Swiss is not a natural holding midfielder.

With Elneny or Coquelin next to him we have the extra defensive awareness to cover these mistakes, but then we lose some creativity and attacking threat, so what do you think Gooners? Do Arsenal have a problem with these recurring mistakes from Xhaka?



  1. Seems Xhaka is low on confidence. His passing and positioning have been awful the past two games. I’d play him in a cup tie to get his confidence back. Pair Le Coq with Ramsey or Wilshere.

      1. He usually spreads the ball about well – which is probably why Wenger liked him enough to buy him. But if he cannot match the speed of EPL football he is a liability and should be told so. His mistakes have been frequent.

    1. Let’s encourage Xhaka to become better at Arsenal. But Arsenal also need to find a more skillful, more mobile and more aggressive defensive midfielder.

      1. Incredible to me how anyone can possibly disagree with your spot on post. I have been saying almost from the start that Xhaka is too one paced , too careless in possession, too switched off to danger and too immobile , ever to be an effective Prem player. Far too many faults there, which being able to spray passes , ONLY when opponents are poor and don’t close down – like Everton were- doesn’t even approach compensating for his faults galore. Though I say “incredible” , the reason is the legendary one eyed nature of many fans towards supporting dross , when it wears their own shirt. That SOME still support Walcott, even after all these idling and injury plagued years , shows how true this is. I always prefer realism, as deluding ourselves only harms the team and encourages this unambitious club to keep a sub -par manager in his grotesquely overpaid and underearned huge salary.

  2. Xhaka must realise the responsibilities of a defensive midfielder, mislaid passes will be costly. He has to play it simple when in defensive situation or shield the ball better. If not, it will be a recurring problem

    1. It has been a recurring problem. And it is not as though he is very good at protecting the back 3 (or 4).

    2. Xhaka is NOT a defensive midfielder! He is a central midfielder but unlike Cazorla who is skilled at carrying the ball through heavy traffic up the pitch, Xhaka plays accurate long passes mostly. Not every big strong midfielder is a defensive midfielder.

    3. Correct , so then your obvious conclusion OUGHT to be that he is not good enough and should be sold. He was a bad buy, like so many in Wengers last decade.

    1. Ramsey’s doing ok, I don’t think both can play together and it wouldn’t be fair with Ramsey getting punished because Xhaka cannot concentrate.

  3. That’s the problem in a nutshell. He is not a DM but when we bring one on beside him we lose an attacking threat due to his mobility and player going off. He can’t move up further replacing Ramsey because his mobility sucks. Some would probably like to see that instead but problem is our DM would get isolated.

    1. Your comments are accurate . But then, surely your conclusion ought to be that Wenger bought the wrong sort of player for the position in which we have BADLY needed top quality for the last decade, since Gilberto left, in CDM. WENGER’S MISTAKE. HE IS PAID SO MUCH TO PUT THINGS RIGHT BUT CONSTANTLY FAILS.

    2. Yes, the problem is, Wenger is using him in a position, he isn’t suited for.
      Xhaka is really not a 6’er but rather an 8’er, and he can be really good with a strong DM behind him. Ideally we would have a strong DM + Xhaka + the likes of Bellerin and Kolasinac in front of the back 3 against all strong opponents.

  4. If he plays it safe people will criticise him like they did Arteta and now Elneny as a side way passer.

    1. But all three of these players, Areta, Elneny, and now Xhaka, are wrong types and limited in a key position which Wenger has never solved since Gilberto left. Personally, rather than comparing one inept player with another inept player, I would actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, by replacing them in the market. But to get top quality involves spending real money and that is not the owner, the board or Wengers style. So we all suffer! But Xhaka , one paced, switched off Xhaka, will never cut the mustard at top Prem level. Far too many faults in his make up.

  5. This issue has been on my mind for a while now. Granite is always giving clumsy pass and making some mistimed tackles. I don’t know but if I was Wenger I’ll bring out the videos of his errors and ask him to watch them after every training session, so he can see how it costs the team. If he has any love for the club then he’ll always look before making a pass and think before making a tackle.

    1. Franklin, I may be almost alone but I see FAR TOO MANY FAULTS IN XHAKAS GENERAL GAME. Therefore I would sell him. He is not curable just by watching his own constant faults. He is simply not good enough and was a bad buy. That is the evident conclusion to a season plus, of costly mistakes.

  6. The team wins or loses as a team… unit………..yes Xhaka lost the ball that led to the goal ……and so did others………….we the fans sometimes put too much pressure on the players………..we won the game………….against a poor side but the team worked hard together to earn the three points………they deserve our collective adulation…………not focusing on individual mistakes………

    1. Loyal comments BUT they choose to ignore that against better teams than inept Everton those costly mistakes you think we “should not focus on”, make the difference between really top sides and nearly ones who have talent but accept constant faults. Ask yourself if a true champion manager would accept that philosophy. The answer is clearly NO!

  7. Xhaka : his pile driver led to rebound for equalizer, and attracted tackle for opponent’s red card. MOTM

  8. He is a sweet passer – if not pressed. He can also hit a ball. What else is not clear. His tackling (ball winning) is dodgy. He is not fast nor mobile. His protection of the back 3 (or 4) is not great. Where should he play ??

    1. To answer your question; back in the second division in his own Switzerland. What you call “not great” , I call disastrous and undisciplined. And “if not pressed” barely exists in our Prem. Perhaps you have not noticed, though Everton was an exeption, I grant you.

  9. If we are serous about challenging for the title we NEED to buy a world class CM. Simple!

    Xhaka has given away sloppy passes all season and as deep lying CM the one thing you have to make sure – find your guy with your passes! Stoke away is just an example…

    Sorry but Wenger for once must be ruthless and see the obvious!

    1. Finally on here! An astute person, in you, who can clearly see that Xhaka is just not good enough and is not afraid to say so. So many other fans choose to say, or blindly hope, that he should improve here or change there or one even said he should be made to watch replays of his many faults. As if that would help and if only it were that easy. The simple conclusion you have drawn is the only correct one . Which is that Xhaka is just not of the quality we need. He has amply proved that over a season and a quarter with constant mistakes which cost us . He must be sold!

  10. Xhaka is a good enough player for a mid table EPL team, but yes he’s inconsistent and hasn’t got enough enough to his game for a top 6 side.

    Also, he isn’t the quickest and carries a lot of bulk. His pace will diminish and his bulk will be more difficult to shift when he gets to about 27 making him prone to further mistakes.

  11. Xhaka cannot tackle, is not aware of where opponents are so does not track them back and does not have the speed or stamina to keep up with the opposition midfield. He can pass the ball very well and has a hammer of a shot. He should not be played as a DM.
    Really we need a very good DM in the manner of Viera or Gilberto who can also pass the ball. Until then Coquelin would give the side a better balance. I would also play Wilshire instead of Ramsey as he keeps the ball better and can pick incisive passes.
    Elneny should be sold as he is just not good enough for a top team.

  12. He just needs to be aware of who is around him and when caught in a tight situation to make a simple pass to a close team mate. But carry on with the long cross field balls when space and time permit.

    1. Agree with your comparison.
      Xhaka made mistake yes, but he had his back to opponent and per still passed to him anyway!
      Per escaped blame, but per panicked and made bad decision rather than just clear the ball.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors