Xhaka red leaves Arsenal needing Ghana and Mali to win

When the Arsenal and Egypt international midfield star Mohamed Elneny headed off to Gabon to meet up with his national team recently for the latest version of the African Cup of Nations, it did not appear to pose too much of a problem for Arsene Wenger.

Even though the Gunners are still having to cope with the long term injury to Santi Cazorla, we were about to get our most defensively strong central midfielder back as Francis Coquelin’s own small injury lay-off was coming to an end. So with Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey to contend with Coquelin we seemed to have enough cover until Elneny returned.

So Arsenal fans and our manager have yet another reason to be frustrated with Xhaka after the Swiss international was shown yet another red card in the Premier League win over Burnley on Sunday. Now the Frenchman really is down to the bare bones in the centre of the pitch and we have some important games coming up.

The FA cup is realistically our best chance of a trophy this season and the Gunners have a tough away draw at Southampton at the weekend to get through, before Watford in the league on Tuesday and then the big one away to Chelsea.

What if Coquelin or Ramsey pick up an injury or a sending off? We could really do with Egypt making an early AFCON exit and Elneny coming back to north London quick sharp and it could well happen. They have drawn one and won one so far and their final group game tomorrow is against the group leaders Ghana. If they lose and Mali beat the bottom side Uganda then it will see Egypt knocked out and Arsenal could really do with that boost for this vital period of the season.

Will we be that lucky? Come on you Ghanaians and Malians….



  1. Twig says:

    The only option is to give Kim Kallstrom a recall.

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      Nothing on the market!

  2. Arsenal_Girl says:

    I think Ox could do well in a CM position. He should be used off the bench in a match we are winning comfortably and see how he does.

    But yes. Right now we just have Coquelin and Ramsey except for CL we can use Xhaka.

    Wish we had Wilshere

  3. NY_Gunner says:

    Maitland-Niles could slot into midfield, no prob…

  4. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    I saw this coming and I sounded a note of warming to Arsenal through my comments on the internet browsing, telling them to be more proactive in their midfield base reinforcements. But no one at Arsenal seems to take my warning seriously. I wanted Le Prof to sign a two in one defensive midfielder/attacking midfielder for option and cover for the Arsenal’s midfield base early in this January transfer window. But Le Prof did not act on my advice.

    But haven said this, I think Le Prof still has one senior midfield base option in Oxlade Chamberlain who he could play in any of the two midfield base positions should there be any need for him to do so in any our next 3 games before Elneny and Xhaka become available to play.

    Egypt getting knocked out at the Afcon tournament in Gabon by Ghana today is a gamble that may come off successfully for Arsenal in respect of an early return to Arsenal by Elneny from the Afton. But it could be a bad news for Elneny who should want to win this match and the competition for his country.

    1. SarsfieldNY says:

      is it possible to recall Jack Wilshere?

  5. sanmi.marvellous says:

    So we should be seeking a downfall of It Egypt for an EPL chances we’ve bottled already?

    it’s only us that would have 11 points advantage in January and blew it.

    Egypt should go ahead. Don’t make Elneny a loser on both end.

  6. Bolly from Borehamwood says:

    Not possible to recall Jack unfortunately
    Ox would fit.

  7. stubill says:

    Never sign African players, that’s my advise.

  8. gmv8 says:

    Yes – I don’t really understand AFCON – not only is it held at least twice as often as other big international sporting events, and sometimes more, if they decide they want to change the schedule, to not interfere with something else (not the players club obligations, who pay their wages, perish the thought), but it is always held at the peak of the league season, as they say it maybe raining in summer, which I also don’t get, as it rains here all the time – I’m sure there are parts of Africa which have reasonable weather during the summer – it’s a big continent – South Africa must be fairly clement at that time. It must have an effect on the desirability of African players, and there seems no reason for it’s timing schedule.

  9. proffetic says:

    I see that William Carvallo is up for sale and Liverpool are hot on his tail.

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