The one thing I really miss about this year’s Aersenal team

What I miss about this year’s Arsenal by John Picco

I’ve been spending time these past few weeks trying to identify what I feel is missing from the current Arsenal. I’ve been grasping at straws and flip flopping between ideas from the Havertz experiment being solely the blame, to the reconfigured lineup, injuries, behind the scenes drama or you name it! If you can think of it, I’ve likely thought it through.

Yet, You know what I really miss about this years Arsenal? Granit Xhaka!

Cue up the eye-rolls, the people who want to scream that “it’s unheard of to fetch over £20 mil for a player at 30+ years of age!!” Or “we have to rebuild to stay relevant”

Heck, I’ll even agree that he could be reckless, a card junkie waiting to cross the line and pick up infractions. Yet, the past two seasons, he was a presence! You knew the midfield was tough, that the challenges would have some jam on them, and that the energy levels could rise when required to pump some life into a lacklustre game from a great challenge, a great huddle after a whistle or a blistering shot to bring you to your feet.

In my last article I asked the question of what it is exactly that Havertz brings to the lineup? And beyond a higher wage bill and a younger number attached to the age category on the stats sheet, I don’t believe we’ve gotten better. (I’m also taking into consideration that they weren’t intended to be a direct swap for one another).

Perhaps I simply favour players who have extreme drive, even if you need to teach direction and restraint, to those you need to try and uplift and inject energy into.

I also know it hasn’t even been a handful of games in this new season. I’m aware that things take time, and chemistry isn’t something that is always a natural fit, it takes time and mistakes and trial & error.

Yet I’ll say it again. I miss Granit Xhaka!

John Picco

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Tags Granit Xhaka


  1. I think in terms of personality and leadership,Declan has the potential of offering some of what Xhaka offered. With time,I can see him become more influential on and off the pitch.So there you go-Declan is the Xhaka replacement in terms of the intangibles like organizing/conducting teammates on the pitch. I expect him to assert himself more. That said,I miss Xhaka and we could have used a player of his qualities and experience for atleast another year,but it was his decision to move on.

  2. Yea, most fan missed Xhaka especially what he did last two seasons for Arsenal. His leadership in the dressing room and on the field unquestionable, his physicality and positional awareness. But Xhaka is a lingering past for Arsenal.
    For me now I missed the leadership of Gabriel Mangahaes at the back. White is somehow soft in controlling the CB and often drift to the side because he is now used to it Gabriel and Saliba always take charge with Gabriel kind of always motivating others. I wish Arteta bring him back for ManU game.

    1. Xhaka has been a hit from day one at Leverkusen, in both games they played and won he was immense.

      The coach had taken him off in 88th minute in the first game I suspect to let the fans showed their appreciation.

      Have been saying this for ages, only when a cow loss its tail it realize the importance.

  3. John I am with the theme in your piece, certainly to the extent that I have long said , loudly and very often, that players who seem unable to give 100% effort regularly when wearing our shirt, are essentailly a waste of space and are morally cheating our club and we fans.

    I need not mention the most awful cheat, now thankfully long gone who we wasted our money and plaudits(though not mine) on for seven years, five of which were a ghastly waste of a position.

    Xhaka, for al his faults , which I again wrote about loudly andoften WAS NEVER such a type but the complete opposite and he left with our collective good wishes and much regret, even from me.
    Havertz, though he has played just three Prem games so far- so I will hold final judgement for sometime yet – SEEMS to be OZIL MARK TWO, but minus his sublime talent(so long wasted by idleness).

    Whateve team, shape or tactics our manager chooses he would be bonkers to let another lazy player stay and be picked in our start eleven
    Already Havertz has hugely disappointed almost allour posting fans on here, myself very much included . It is guts, desire, drive and 100& COMMITMENT to the game that is DEMANDED, CERTAINLY BY ME and i am confident I speak for many others too.

    Buck up then HAVERTZ or be another Ozil, minus his wasted talent.

    1. This goes down as one of the best posts from you that I agree with you on all you have said.

      You summarised perfectly all I had in mind to say.

      1. Good to hear SJ.
        Odd, isnt it, how when one writes PLAIN and non woke styleTRUTH, and pulls no punches in saying that truth , loud and clear and often, some will hate reading truth, as it upsets them, but other will feel attracted to it.

        We are an odd race, we humans!!

  4. Hahahahahaha be serious people. Brighton have lost almost all good players in recent season and yet they are really performing well and possessing some good football. Now at arsenal especially on justaresnal fans are moaning about an average player who only played one good season out of 7 seasons. Be serious

  5. Besides Xhaka being a good, we are also missing players playing in their natural position which is making the missing of Xhaka worse.

    If Partey was playing right back last year, trust me you wouldn’t be missing last season as much.

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