Wenger: Xhaka is a little bit Petit


Arsene Wenger has drawn a comparison between new boy Granit Xhaka and double-winner Emmanuel Petit after the Swiss international’s excellent performance against Watford.

The 23 year old pulled the strings from deep in the midfield, showing a range of passing that added an extra dimension to Arsenal’s attacking play. For Wenger he saw shades of the man he signed from Monaco in 1997, who became a key component alongside Patrick Vieira in that double winning side.

He is a guy who plays naturally behind the ball,” he told Arsenal Player. “He is a bit similar to Petit in the way he plays football. He likes to sit, give good long balls and be available with the centre-backs.

“He has a good engine, good stature, he is good in the air and has a good balance in his game, he has a good short ball and a good long ball.

“I believe he has a good mixture of short and long balls, in midfield it is important for us to sometimes stretch the defenders,” Wenger said after the match.

“We have a game that is based on shorter passes than other teams so sometimes when you have a player who can kick the longer ball, it gives us a chance to get some oxygen and some space.”

It seems pretty clear this is why Wenger brought him to the club, to add qualities to midfield that have been missing. It’s going to be very interesting to see how he develops over the coming months.

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Frank the Gooner

i have a real boner for Xhaka.
reminds of a hard arse xabi alonso.
not sure if you can tell… but i’m fucking pumped.


That’s a nice image :O


Fully agree on the Xabi comparison. They pick long balls so effortlessly its beautiful watch. Hoping to see more of Walcott or Alexis getting on the end of those long balls. Still early days so not getting carried away, but the signs are good.


I totally agree with your sentiment, but the words “boner”, “hard arse”, and “pumped” should probably not appear in the same sentence.


It’s a strange situation at Arsenal at the moment. An overload of midfielders… It’s characteristic of that Invincible era except that we do not have a prolific striker and hard men such as Viera, Adams. And this is why we should not dwell on history coz there’s is a huge amount of talent in our team at the moment. And they have their different but unique qualities as compared to other teams in the past. I for one hope for special moments from this team. I am curious to see the right combination of midfield players that will make it… Read more »


Xhaka and Mustafi have both captained their teams at younger age as we signed them which says a lot about their characters, it’s a reflection of what AW vision of mixing skills, talents and strong personalities when he plans for team future.


I agree with you bro that will be a deadly combination

Charlie George

Sounds like he would be best with a Vieira type with a big engine eg a Ramsey. Or do we rotate the others depending on the oppo?

Roger Federer

No offence mate, but this is Arsenal, so I imagine we will largely play whoever is available for most of the season


Exactly!! Said the same thing a few days ago and got thumbed down for “being negative”. Xhaka’s best partner like it or not is Ramsey. A disciplined Ramsey is the perfect Partner. Xhaka played with someone similar in Dahoud last season and Thrived.


Well i guess if two people said it, it must be true…


Yeah especially if these two people watched him regularly at Mochengladbach and the swiss national team.
Common sense sees that Xhaka and santi are to immobile defensively to play together. 90 percent of the guys on here probably never watched him till the euros.


Didn’t look too immobile for me during the first half on Saturday. Look pretty damn good actually…

Igbo Amadi-Obi

Interesting. He complains about making the same point earlier and getting thumbed down, and he gets even more thumbdowns. Then someone says if two people said it, it must be true, and he gets thumbed up. Makes you wonder if people really know in what situations you give a thumb up or down!


I would have said one of Santi or Jack as compliments to his way of playing. But, as is also mentioned, Wenger can now pick and choose depending on the opposition. This is a fantastic problem to have.

Mas moiderer

Ramsey, by definition is not disciplined.


I would prefer to play him with Cazorla against a team that is happy for us to have the ball. Or Elneny against stronger opposition. I don’t think Ramsey really fits our system as he enjoys having a free role. Unless Ozil is rested and he plays a deeper number 10 role.


I think Ramsey on the right has that free role. Also, he does put in a defensive shift from there. Centrally, he’s just over enthusiastic and central turnovers kill us!


Agreed. Especially against stronger opposition. Against weaker teams I would rather have someone to give us more width though. It’s a bit annoying that he keeps saying he wants to play centrally every time he gets a good run out wide though.


I’d love to see Ramsey return to being that beast he was a few seasons back, but I’ve already lost faith in that hope sadly. He works so hard for the team, there is no question about that, but his passing lets him down just a little too often and I’m sure he’s also missing the goal banging days. I think he may actually work best for us on the right wing in certain games, we’ll see.

Damn, it’s going to be so terrible having such a large squad.


Nope, it’s Elneny for me, or Santi at home against teams that park the bus.

Here’s another thumbs down for good measure ?


mmmm.. what is a disciplined Ramsey?




Wouldn’t change a thing. Santi and Xhaka deep. Ramsey has a great engine but no vision


He’s Swiss, he’s quick, he’s faster than Redknapp’s tick… Granit Xhakaaaaa!

I’ll get my coat.

Alex L

He’s Swiss, he’s quick, he’ll punch you in the dick?

We don’t need steel in midfield, we’ve got Granit.


I like yours better Alex.

Eduardo Stark

Shout it in the stadium and you’ll see that as a huge popular chants in Gooners history.


“he has a good short ball and a good long ball”

Asymetrical but that in no way means a want of beauty.

Dial Square Charity XI

I thought it was just a fact of life


Love the combination of Xhaka and Carzola. We lose something when Ramsey plays there


Couldn’t agree more. The football we’ll play with Cazorla and Xhaka at the base of our midfield will be out of this world (and you might bring in Elneny/Coq for tough away fixtures alongside Xhaka). I wouldn’t be surprised if Ramsey will be back on the right when he returns to the team. And with that in mind it will be interesting to see if that competition pushes Theo to keep up the hard working performances he’s been giving us since the start of the season. Squad’s certainly in a much healthier state than the days of playing Ramsey and… Read more »


Ramsey and Ozil have got the #10 spot covered. I just hope Wenger doesn’t try to accommodate Ramsey and sacrifice others in that CM area. Ramsey needs to be higher up the pitch. RW, LW, #10, false 9 even… I think this season we have got “enough” options in that CM area to stop shuffling and trying new things. A balanced and settled structure may prove all the difference.


Yep this makes a lot of sense. We tend to look imbalanced with him in CM. Also he kicked ass for Wales playing further forward.


It’d be interesting to see how he linked up with Alexis up top too … they both like to get around the pitch a bit.

Gudang Pelor

I’d love to see Ramsey as false nine. I bet you, he will score loads of goals there.

Ghazi AlNaqeeb

Our enthusiasm earlier in the summer over his addition has been vindicated very quickly, I feel. Looks to be a great signing and is the component to our midfield we’ve been aching for. I look forward to watching him integrate with our team.
I think a mid with him, ramsey, and mesut is a scintillating one. (Sanchez, giroud and perez up top. Mustafi and Kos at the back. That looks like a decent team now to me).


Ramsey, Elneny, jack, Coq and Santi in that order. Xhaka needs to play alongside a mobile/aggressive cm. If Ramsey can regain his 13/14 form, he’d be the perfect partner. Jack would be superb as well but is too injury prone. Xhaka – Santi is suicide defensively unless it’s in a midfield 3 with say Jack or Elneny.
Midfield options looming beautiful at the moment. Hopefully Xhaka gets to alonso levels or even surpasses it.


Xhaka-Santi would work perfectly thank you very much


The precision of Xhaka’s passing amazes me, he picks out diagonals and long balls with so much ease.

Feel for Coquelin tho. Boy deserves a start but I hope he does get a lot of games.


Competition and choice are wonderful qualities for a manager to have at his disposal and we will see this season whether the accusations that Wenger “does not do tactics” are either hyperbole or accurate based on his team selections. I would not worry about the Le Coq as he is a hard (…sorry could not help myself) man and will get his share of games both as a starter and a sub in part because he is a faster and better defender than either Xhaka or Santi. Of all the players on this team, his career epitomizes what good comes… Read more »


That’s the most sensible post I’ve read all day albeit longer than Granit’s ‘long ball’.


Exactly what we need! A technical DMF with good distribution and a 40 yard pass. Along with Elneny and Carzola we have some serious passers, a box to box engine in Ramsey and a more defensive Coq. Not sure what this means for Wilshere… there is going to be some intense competition in the centre of the park and he’ll need to seriously up his game. Also this is probably the end of the Ox having a midfield role for at least this season. This must be the only window in recent years where we have strengthened in all areas!… Read more »

Stewart Robson's therapist

Can we please not compare new players to greats to the past? Dont be the Louis Walsh of football managers, Arsène.

Clock-End Mike

No greater compliment than to compare Xhaka with the silky-smooth ‘Manu Petit. I was so disappointed when he left…


If anyone can Xhaka can. Alongside Cazorla as first choice ideally. Love all our midfield options now though; Ramsay, Elneny, Wilshere and Coquelin. With Özil, Iwobi and possibly the Ox for the primary final third creator role. Then out of Sanchez, Perez, Giroud, Walcott and Gnabry for the front three. I may as well add that the defence pretty much picks itself, thus we are now a solid and exciting squad. Time for the Arsenal spirit, the style blending beautifully and a bit of good old fashioned luck and I’m confident we can start on our track to glory my… Read more »

Frank Bascombe

Yeah Ramsey great as a box-to-box. It enables him to needlessly give up possession at both ends of the field.


“I believe he has a good mixture of short and long balls.”

I think Wenger’s suggesting he’ll make a good pairing with Coq.



Cliff Bastin

Is it too earlier to say he has the passing range of Arteta but is meaner and bulkier?

Can’t wait to see him take out Costa.

(Arteta still narrowly beats him in the perfect hair category)


Santi has one more season in him at best, maybe not even that. It’s good to know that once he becomes a bit part player and is eventually pushed to the sidelines, we have players that ready and hungry to take up that role. And counting, Wilshere, Ramsey, Le CoQ and Elneny its an incredible amount of youth too. These 4 with Xhaka should run our midfield for years to come!


Santi still has years to entertain us with his magic. None of those players can switch feet while taking a kick, for now. Nuf said!


Santi can play until he is 50 with those magical feet!


What if we play xhaka, carz n ram/jack/coq in midfield, alexis right, ozil left with roaming freedom, n perez/giroud top?


Özil on the left is wasted talent… He needs to be at 10 whenever he is fit enough to play.

Johnny B.

So Xhaka gets injured in no time! Welcome to the club my friend


Saw many comments about who should be the the first choice partner for Xhaka in central midfield. For me, the first choice in central midfield is Santi and we should be discussing who his partner should be. At the moment Xhaka looks promising in that role.


I don’t see how Ramsey starts when santi is fit. You have xhaka, Elneny, coq to partner santi. I can’t see Ramsey starting a game regularly.


Havent seen these long range passes in awhile since Fabregas.


“I believe he has a good mixture of short and long balls”

Sounds nasty! Might wanna get that looked at.


People keep prattling on about how we do business late (as if we have control over Mustafi’s agents or Valencia or for that matter we aren’t holding out to see if prices for other striker targets may soften) What they do not mention is how we did this bit of business early. Any of 7 teams who can pay more than us in Europe would be more than happy to fork out for Granit. Clearly we did a bit of work early on before end of window. Yet the naysayers can only focus their narrative on the negative. Wenger has… Read more »

nigerian rex?

It’s a large squad now, beautiful nightmare to have. Can actually think of so many permutations and that makes me giddy!

For some cup fixtures tho I can just imagine a middle field pivot of coqelneny with Ramsey as No. 10.

Add gnabriwobi on the wings and perez up top……. can smell some serious goals