Wenger explains Xhaka and midfield selection decisions

141
xhaka watford 2016

Arsene Wenger was asked about Granit Xhaka at today’s press conference, and spoke about his thinking regarding the Swiss international and the midfield in general.

Rather than dress it up, here’s a transcript.

Journalist: Can I ask you about Xhaka? A lot of people were surprised he didn’t start in midweek.

Wenger: It’s not about his quality at the moment, he adapts to the pace of the English game. And for me it’s about pairs as well who work together.

Coquelin and Cazorla have worked well together. But he will play games. Every week he’s stronger and better, and he will have a huge impact as a player.

Journalist: He looks as if he’s got great physical strength. The other night he came on and you could see him immediately impose himself on the game.

Wenger: He can of course. He has the stature, the power, the strength, what we want is that for him to use that in a very efficient way. It’s short you know, we are September, we only started in August. It’s one month, for many players it took them some time to get into the team and he will do that without any problem.

Journalist: How would you describe him? Is a box-to-box or an anchorman? He seems to be quite adaptable.

Wenger: I personally prefer him as a box to box player, because he has the engine, the power, the long pass, he likes to come deep and distribute the game. I think as well he has the engine to make an impact with his runs.

Journalist: Has he got the qualities you’ve been missing in midfield?

Wenger: Look, we always had good midfield players, you cannot say we were missing anything. We wanted to add players with quality, him and Elneny are top class players, but there’s a lot of competition in midfield at the moment. I’m sure both of them will get in the team.

Journalist: When you say it’s about pairs, does that mean it’s difficult for him to play with Cazorla?

Wenger: No, not necessarily. What I mean is that Cazorla and Coquelin have 50 or 60 games together, that has a little impact sometimes on my decisions.

Journalist: With Xhaka, is it that new arrivals are blown away by the pace and physical nature of English football? Does it take them by surprise.

Look er, in one or two occasions. I think he adapted quite well personally, because of his physical strength and his power allows him to play straight away. Sometimes you know, we lost our first game, you go a bit for stability, but he’s highly focused, Elneny as well.

Both of them are highly focused, and they are top, top quality.

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GoonerSmurf
GoonerSmurf
3 years ago

top top excuse which could cost arsenal top of the CL group

Chamakh
Chamakh
3 years ago
Reply to  GoonerSmurf

How does a draw away against the main rival for the top spot cost the group victory?

GoonerSmurf
GoonerSmurf
3 years ago
Reply to  Chamakh

exactly. if they are the main rival why not play your top top players?

Chamakh
Chamakh
3 years ago
Reply to  GoonerSmurf

Tbf Santi and Coq have been the best midfied pairing Arsenal have had during the last 2 seasons. More of a gamble to play a new signing who hasn’t yet shown “top quality” for a whole match.

PFo
PFo
3 years ago
Reply to  Chamakh

Yes, but what I would have liked the journos to ask him, instead of banging on about Xhaka per se, is why he’s having Coquelin play so high up the pitch. Is it because he doesn’t trust him to collect the ball from deep against a team who presses, and if so, isn’t that a pretty significant drawback to starting him, at least in certain games? Santi doesn’t seem to be able to play the anchor role all on his own (no fault of his, I should add). If they’re being picked because of how well they work as a… Read more »

Goon
Goon
3 years ago
Reply to  Chamakh

And it would be hard on him and lucas had they played and we lost. I think managing the mental side of the game is important too.

David M
David M
3 years ago
Reply to  Chamakh

@PFo Absolutely nailed it. The dual pivot of Coqzorla is not working. Coq plays really well as a holding player in a staggered midfield. Why play him if that is not the setup you want. The dual pivot’s weakness was absolutely exposed in the PSG goal. Coq should have been deep to pick up Di Maria when he dropped into the hole to pick up the ball. Instead there was space and Koz had to cover way up the pitch leaving the defence exposed and leading to confusion for Mustafi (not really his fault IMO, it was 100% preventable before… Read more »

Arsefull
Arsefull
3 years ago
Reply to  Chamakh

Good lord, how many games have we played this season so far? I mean I get we live in an increasingly divisive world where facts seem less important than reactionary feelings but to coin a James Bond from M16, can’t we just for the sake of variety, take a deep breath and wait to see how our squad develops and gels until maybe Christmas. I can hear the chorus of boos descending now from some of us with a refrain of 12 years without a title but come on people, do you really think Xhaka will sit on his arse… Read more »

GiddyforZelalem
GiddyforZelalem
3 years ago
Reply to  GoonerSmurf

There’s basically no winning against people like this. No matter what answer Wenger could have given it was always going to be ridiculed and insulted. Even if his reasoning was (as it actually is, surprise surprise!) careful and well thought out. This is just how it is with a portion of the fan base now, we could win the treble this season and they’d insist it was in spite of Wenger.

Arsepedant
Arsepedant
3 years ago

Well said. There are a few chronic moaners about who’d still whinge if we went 38-0-0 with a +267 goal difference in the league, and won the Champions League, FA Cup, EFL Cup, and World Club Cup. All we’d hear would be “we were lucky, we only won it because so-and-so choked, we’ll never defend any of these trophies, Wenger has to go”. Some people just aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy.

Tilmann
Tilmann
3 years ago

And there will always be people that are codependent with Wenger no matter what. That´s fine if they want to live in that world. But others that dare to criticize the fact that the teams has not won EPL for the last 12 years or gone through the first round of CL under his management are called whiners. You guys that co-depend with Wenger are just like those that follow one political party in blindness. However, Wenger is a genius, but unfortunately he has lost his magic touch.

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  GoonerSmurf

Thanks for explaining Arsene, it makes sense.
I like that you are “bigging up” Granite and Elneny.
COYG!

Paul
Paul
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul

*Granit oops…”don’t use e’s kids” 🙂

Anonymarse
Anonymarse
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul

Es are good

Ebenezer Good
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymarse

Christ now I’m going to have that song in my head all day.

Radek
Radek
3 years ago

Tues was a CL game not EPL. Coquelin and Cazorla did not work in the last two games.

Radek
Radek
3 years ago

Xhaka and Cazorla worked just fine against Watford

C J
C J
3 years ago
Reply to  Radek

PSG is not Watford.

Pookins
Pookins
3 years ago
Reply to  Radek

I seem to recall Watford creating quite a few chances myself

D
D
3 years ago
Reply to  Radek

Watford played 3 at the back. Alexis looked like a striker in that game as a result. Galatasary played 3 at the back last season. Welbeck looked like Messi and scored a hat-trick.

Crash Fistfight
Crash Fistfight
3 years ago
Reply to  D

Welbeck’s hat-trick was the season before last – he was injured through the group phase last season :’-(

Dattijo Aliyu
3 years ago
Reply to  Radek

Our best pair in the midfield is carzola & xhaka, coquelin should be a backup. The problem with wenger is he has so much believe in this young guns, that is what cost us the league last year. He refused to buy any experience player thinking the young guns can see him through, rather what do we have injured players. There is no way youthful exuberant can match experience , anytime xhaka comes in he stamp his authority and bring stability to the team. If wenger do not give him enough playing time how can he adapt? Wenger should not… Read more »

Parth
Parth
3 years ago

Nice questioning from the journalist. I wish more of them asked questions such as this.

Giroud's Flicks
Giroud's Flicks
3 years ago
Reply to  Parth

Yes, was just about to comment something similar. More questions people actually care about instead of instigating stuff with mourinho.

Mpls
Mpls
3 years ago

I don’t think all of Goonerdom has enough collective thumbs of agreement to do this suggestion justice.

Luke the Legend
Luke the Legend
3 years ago
Reply to  Parth

I agree. I’ve been waiting for one of them to ask, “When have you seen Alexis Sanchez effectively used as a striker?” I haven’t and I can’t understand why Wenger thinks that he is. No evidence on the field supports that, however, plenty of evidence of his awesomeness out wide.

Anonymarse
Anonymarse
3 years ago

Wenger does have a history of turning wingers into unbelievable strikers, perhaps we should trust his judgement …

It might end up a failed experiment but even so.

David M
David M
3 years ago
Reply to  Anonymarse

But he is a completely different player to Henry and RvP who I guess you are referring to. He gets involved deep and creates. Arrives late. He is also much smaller than those two making the back to goal role more difficult. RvP and Henry had a propensity to get in behind early which isn’t exactly Alexis’ game. I actually thought he might work as a striker and maybe with more time as he has played well in a 4-4-2 as the 2nd striker many times for Chile. But this is the support striker which is similar to an AM/Winger.… Read more »

Anonymarse
Anonymarse
3 years ago
Reply to  David M

These are all valid points. It wouldn’t surprise me if we abandon the idea but i’d like to see it work.

It’s possible Alexis will be able adapt his game, and/or the rest of the team will adapt better to playing with him. He could stay further forwards more. Others could try to get in the box more.

Also there are combinations of other players on the wings we haven’t been able to try yet.

assistantref
assistantref
3 years ago

Look, err, I am going to talk like Arsene Wenger. And I think as well that I will adapt to the pace of the role and do it with top, top quality.

D
D
3 years ago
Reply to  assistantref

Then you know err, I will type in the same way, going forward with pace. I like that a little bit.

Little Mozart
Little Mozart
3 years ago
Reply to  assistantref

You dominated that comment but lack a little bit sharpness.

Smart-Arse
Smart-Arse
3 years ago
Reply to  Little Mozart

Brilliant ?

Third Plebeian
Third Plebeian
3 years ago
Reply to  Little Mozart

You mean, a little bit THE sharpness. Next time without the handbrake please.

StuckInTheWire
StuckInTheWire
3 years ago
Reply to  Little Mozart

Spoke a little bit with the handbrake on.

GobiLux
GobiLux
3 years ago
Reply to  Little Mozart

You are only a few days away from full match fitness.

Arsene's Coat Zipper (The Real One)
Arsene's Coat Zipper (The Real One)
3 years ago
Reply to  assistantref

Hahaha. You guys are the best.

And I think as well that I am very much fond of Arsene Wenger’s speaking style. I feel we should all speak like him, no?

thw14
thw14
3 years ago

Well, at least we’re arguing about choices between players rather than the choice between player and cash reserves.

spectator
spectator
3 years ago

I’m glad Arsene is in charge and not you. Fans’ thinking is fickle, short term and emotional. He gave a perfectly reasonable response to the question but you are entitled to your opinion of course.

ScotchEggsRules
ScotchEggsRules
3 years ago
Reply to  spectator

I’ll be glad when he’s no longer in charge. I’ve not seen an employee consistently make the same mistakes over and over again, yet still manage to keep his job. His £8 million a year job.

A Gorilla
A Gorilla
3 years ago

It’s almost as if he maintains such a consistently high level of work over such a long period of time that he manages to retain a commensurate salary along from his directors as well as the backing of his staff …. Weird

Dr Zearse
Dr Zearse
3 years ago

I’ll be glad when he’s no longer in charge, if it means the end of this stupid “employee” line. I don’t mind one bit if fans want to criticise wenger and the job he’s doing, as long as they do it with some facking originality.

hashtag
hashtag
3 years ago

I am confused by your username. I think you are trying to say “scotch eggs rule”, in which case I am fully with you and my response would be “amen brother”. However, what is more intriguing is the possibility of a game involving scotch eggs, be it a whole new standalone game involing just scotch eggs, or perhaps an exisiting sport with a scotch egg element. My thinking would be penalty shoot outs in football, where prior to taking the penalty the ‘keeper is allowed to launch as many scotch eggs as he can at the taker aka “Scotch Egg… Read more »

Mach iii
Mach iii
3 years ago

Employee ?

What happens if you swap his last e for al? It’s Arsenal mate. Wenger is Arsenal, and forever may he reign. *forever may he reign *

Arsene's Coat Zipper (The Real One)
Arsene's Coat Zipper (The Real One)
3 years ago
Reply to  spectator

Also somewhere else, his “can’t have two world class keepers by playing only one” comment. Classic Arsene.

locksley444
locksley444
3 years ago

I’m not against playing Coq-Cazorla, but their midfield and wide midfield has Matuidi, Rabiot, Grzegorz krychowiak. All physical players against who Santi suffers in terms recovery pace to track back and really press them into squandering possession. We needed Granit and Coquelin I think. If Granit is indeed a box to box option, I’d love to see him mix it up with long balls, short balls, and a driving run when our wingers and forward are proving hard to pick out. That’s what you need to disrupt the opposition’s shape and force them to react.

clins
clins
3 years ago
Reply to  locksley444

i think that’s true. psg came determined to win the balls in midfield and started 4 midfield players in krychowiak , veratti, rabiot and matuidi starting in in wings. their power and pace completely overwhelmed us. ozil was not even defending for us and we ended up overun in midfield . we always struggle against an opponent who are tacticaly good and presses us like southampton swansea tottenham liverpool . apart from last game we havent beaten southampton in past 4 meatings. the same with tottenham apart from a league cup game .we only win against liverpool because of their… Read more »

Diarra
Diarra
3 years ago
Reply to  clins

Agree and this is something I have also noticed during the years. Would also like to see a more powerful midfield 3 in a 4-3-3, like Elneny/Ramsey, Coq and Xhaka in this type of matches, even if it is in the expense of Ozil who could maybe play on the wing as he could then drift in at times and exchange position with Elneny/Ramsey who have the legs and technique to play wide for periods. Ozil has slotted in well on thewing for theGerman national teamso don’t see a reason why he couldn’t do it against some opponents at Arsenal.… Read more »

clins
clins
3 years ago
Reply to  Diarra

exactly , i’ve been thinking the same . we should ditch ozil and start playing 433. a midifield of xhaka-cazorla-ramsey/elneny is worldclass midfield and gives ramsey much needed freedom he needs.
i know ozil is unbeleivable talent and all but he’s a luxury player , he cannot play any other role other than no10 role and cannot defend well. when we have possession he will be good player but against teams such us psg or barcelona playing him will hurt arsenal.

Pule
Pule
3 years ago
Reply to  clins

You sound like a person who hates football

Why not
Why not
3 years ago
Reply to  clins

Ozil is the opposite of a luxury player. He, in my oppioniom, is classed as integral. Even if he doesn’t defend. Which isn’t true. In all the matches of this season there are prime examples of him deep in our territory winning balls and setting up an attack or relieving pressure. I think except for Elneny he is regularly one of our top players to cover ground, suggesting a high work rate. If you combine that with looling at his heatmaps it will prove that he does also appear deep. This notion of him not working enough for the team… Read more »

Diarra
Diarra
3 years ago
Reply to  clins

Ozil is world class at what he is best in, that is dictating play and creating opportunities for others and in some games, agree, he can be a bit of “luxury” if he isn’t used in the right way. He must be included in the first eleven in some way. Just feel that at times Wenger is accommodating the team a bit too much to have Ozil at no10 and could try alternative tactics as he doesn’t offer too much in terms of power, defence or goal threat which might be needed from a midfielder against teams mentioned above.

arsens army
arsens army
3 years ago
Reply to  locksley444

What’s wrong with playing xhaka with Eleneny. Both are physical players, can cover alot of the pitch and they are both effective at distributing the ball. Away against PSG to me that sounds like a perfect match. Let Santi rest for the weekend.

David M
David M
3 years ago
Reply to  locksley444

I think the reason is because we haven’t used a holding midfielder (or defender…see what I did there no holding in defence…jokes aside back to the midfield debate) both Coq and cazorla were box-to-box in the last two games and we are leaving a big space between the mids and defence. Coq excels in the DM role in a 4-3(1-1-1)-3 system (midfield formation in brackets), but he isn’t a box-to-box player so why use him if wenger wants us to play that system. Horses for courses as they say, but we are using the wrong horse for the wrong course…

spectator
spectator
3 years ago

sorry, that was meant in response to goonersmurf.

CB
CB
3 years ago
Reply to  spectator

Try clicking ‘Reply’.

CLEGooner
CLEGooner
3 years ago
Reply to  CB

Sick burn, bro. Sick burn.

Fabulous
Fabulous
3 years ago

Our best game, and maybe our ONLY good game this season (Watford away) was with Xhaka and Cazorla in the middle. I’m surprised Wenger didn’t see that as proof enough to start the two as our first choice midfield pairing. And this comes as no disrespect at all to Elneny, Coq and Ramsey. We just have a bloody good midfield is all. And the Xhaka Cazorla axis has the best balance in my opinion. Cazorla Coquelin is defensively solid but not enough going forward. Elneny can slot in along any of the others and still provide good balance. Ramsey Cazorla… Read more »

Mennis Bergzil
Mennis Bergzil
3 years ago
Reply to  Fabulous

I’d have to argue that Cazorla has been better defensively than Coquelin. He’s been sitting deeper and doing the job Coquelin should be doing (tackles vs Watford, last ditch interception vs Soton. Coquelin has been way too far forward, i’m not sure what his role is in the team if he’s not defensive.

Mennis Bergzil
Mennis Bergzil
3 years ago
Reply to  Mennis Bergzil

ignore this. misread your comment lol

clins
clins
3 years ago
Reply to  Mennis Bergzil

i think coqueline playing futher forward than cazorla is a deliberate move by the team . i think its to win the balls high upfield. remember coqueline was playing has been his role perfectly for one and half seasons now . its not that coqueline suddenly forgot how to play his role.

John C
John C
3 years ago
Reply to  clins

I don’t think he’s under instruction, i think he’s done a Song and gone a bit rogue trying to show that he’s more than just a defensive midfielder

Luca James
Luca James
3 years ago
Reply to  John C

Yeah, or maybe JUST LIKE SONG he’s been told to use his great knack for interceptions and tackling to win the ball 15/20m further up the pitch as it means you’re more likely to score…

John C
John C
3 years ago
Reply to  John C

If you say so, but i don’t know how many games we have to get stuffed in doing it to figure out it’s not a tactic that’s constantly worked for us.

David M
David M
3 years ago
Reply to  clins

I think its totally tactical, I just think its a poor tactic. While we love up field interceptions its more important if you have an almost pure DM to break up attacks where they are most dangerous IN FRONT OF THE DEFENCE! If we want midfield interceptions, Xhaka seems not only better at making them, but better at exploiting them. The dual box-to-box role just doesn’t suit Le Coq. Hope Arsene sees this before its too late, but judging from his comments that he thinks its working then I am not sure that he has even noticed the way it… Read more »

Dan Hunter
Dan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  David M

Coq in DM, Xhaka further up… that’s the best tactic for me if you want to win the ball high up

Mikeh
Mikeh
3 years ago
Reply to  Fabulous

Watford……PSG – Quite a gulf in quality there, don’t you think? Wonder how many fans would be screaming for Xhaka to play if he only cost £5m. The season has only just begun, I’m sure he will play his part. There’s a lot of games to play yet.

Why not
Why not
3 years ago
Reply to  Mikeh

Also it was a decent result. People need to seriously relax on this matter. For fucks sake

David M
David M
3 years ago
Reply to  Why not

yeah decent result, but doesn’t mean we should just think oh great an away draw that was down to luck and poor finishing than any of our own competence and withdraw all analysis of our tactical setup.

arsens army
arsens army
3 years ago
Reply to  David M

How do people vote down that comment. We were lucky as all to get out of Paris with a point. Don’t get me wrong I’ll gladly take that but if fans think that was a well earned draw then their just deluding themselves. It could have easily been 3 or 4 nothing to PSG. not many players seem to be on the same page. And I think part of that is down to where players are being deployed and to team selection.

clins
clins
3 years ago
Reply to  Fabulous

i like to see arsenal trying out xhaka-ramey and xhaka-elneny . xhaka-cazorla pair is only good against teams that sit deep. but xhaka-ramsey pair will have a different dynamic with ramseys running behind the defence. and xhaka-elneny option will be more defensive version of that pair , used only against teams like psg barcelona or bayern.

AlwaysArsenal
AlwaysArsenal
3 years ago
Reply to  clins

You see how all your midfield combinations include Xhaka?

My point is this, fans are just impatient to see the new shiny signing play more than anything else.

I just hope he comes good when he finally does (which is obviously why the manager is introducing him slowly) cos the same set of fans will turn on him should he not be as perfect as they have built him up to be in their minds.

clins
clins
3 years ago
Reply to  AlwaysArsenal

i was not saying that we should play them . i was just saying i like to see how these pairs will play when given chance.
and its not as simple as shiny new player. i think we can all agree that xhaka is more gifted than coqueline and everytime he has played managed to make a mark .

ScotchEggsRules
ScotchEggsRules
3 years ago

An idiotic decision from Wenger. One that backfired spectacularly, with such a feeble and inept midfield showing against PSG.

Mikeh
Mikeh
3 years ago

You have no idea how happy i am that you will never manage Arsenal.

Stewart Robson's therapist
Stewart Robson's therapist
3 years ago

Spectacularly? Calm down drama queen, we didn’t even lose the game.

Arsepedant
Arsepedant
3 years ago

So feeble and inept, indeed, that we merely drew away against the number one seed in the group.

Paul
Paul
3 years ago

Is it rulers made from Scotch Eggs?

Diarra
Diarra
3 years ago

Arsenal have played many of their best matches in recent seasons with the Coq-Santi pairing so it was by no means a gamble to start them, especially as Xhaka is still adapting. That they failed to get any support from the front 4 defensively and that there was no real striker in the lineup caused the team to lose its form. Also the pressing by Ox, Ozil, Iwobi was non-existent while they were still high up the pitch, which led to PSG easily passing around half the team and the Coq had to be all over the pitch to cover… Read more »

OzGooner
OzGooner
3 years ago

Wenger starts zhaka with cazorla. Arsenal lose the game in Paris. Fans going nuts at Wenger, why? Why? Why? You didn’t start our only real defensive midfielder. Wenger starts coq with cazorla and arsenal gets a point. Fans going nuts anyway lol.

Diarra
Diarra
3 years ago
Reply to  OzGooner

This.

Dan Hunter
Dan Hunter
3 years ago
Reply to  Diarra

….is bollocks. The problem wasn’t the team selection, it was the fact Coq was playing so high up the pitch. The problem was tactical. PSG is the number one seed but they are not an elite team. We could have won the game in my opinion if we had set up correctly

Top Qualitee
Top Qualitee
3 years ago
Reply to  OzGooner

We were absolutely awful all game and completely overrun, with our ‘only real defensive midfielder’ constantly sprinting up the pitch in a Flamini-esque fashion. Is that the way you want the Arsenal to play? Being battered for 90 minutes so we can hopefully nick a goal? If you can’t keep possession you should at least be able to sit comfortably, press and play on the counter.

Mootilated
Mootilated
3 years ago
Reply to  OzGooner

you cannot compare because Xhaka did not start with Cazorla in midfield in Paris so we do not know if Arsenal would have won, lost or draw. All we do know is Arsenal were terrible and got lucky to get a point, irrelevant of who started in the middle. So it is futile trying to compare.

David M
David M
3 years ago
Reply to  OzGooner

No doubt, but that is pure hypthetical. My problem with starting Coq is only because he never actually played as a DM he played as a box-to-box midfielder. Him and Santi were playing in a line defensively usually with significant space between them and the defenders (look at the first goal and every time we got hit on the counter leading to their good chances – so much space between defence and mids). Is Coq a box-to-box midfielder? No he isn’t, so why set up our system with him playing that role?

Gooner
Gooner
3 years ago

Yipee…we have got a new stick to beat him with…get out of the club, xhaka while u can

Trez
Trez
3 years ago

Wenger is confused. Imagine saying he sees Xhaka best as a box to box midfielder. While sell Jack Wilshere if you needed a left footed box to box cm?? I’m getting tired of all this.

CB
CB
3 years ago
Reply to  Trez

Jack hasn’t been sold.

Trez
Trez
3 years ago
Reply to  Trez

Loaned out or whatever. Fact is Santi and Coq are in theory doing the job of one player i.e winning the ball and controlling the tempo. I thought that was what we bought Xhaka for??

AlwaysArsenal
AlwaysArsenal
3 years ago
Reply to  Trez

See what you did there?

1. You assumed you know the exact reason why he was bought and how the manager wants to use him.

2. You assumed in your earlier comment that he is a similar to wilshere in ability and current form.

Then you blame the manager for not coming to an “obvious” conclusion based on your own assumptions.

Think about that

PFo
PFo
3 years ago
Reply to  AlwaysArsenal

1. Hey, a little bit less condescension would go a long way, my friend. 2. He didn’t assume Xhaka is similar to Wilshere. His point is that if Wenger is going to say he’s a box to box player, then why get rid of Wilshere, another very talented box to box player (at least most of us think that’s his best position). Maybe Wilshere is pants right now, and Xhaka was brought in as his direct replacement (doesn’t really seem like that, given how last minute the Wilshere move was, but maybe). But I take it his comment is not… Read more »

Trez
Trez
3 years ago
Reply to  PFo

Thank you. Some morons on here just want to speak for the sake of it. They’re all pissed off I called Wenger confused which is what he sounds like at the moment.

David M
David M
3 years ago
Reply to  PFo

Well said. Can’t believe how much people are trying to stop any sort of discussion on tactics by simply saying you are anti wenger. Same happens with commentors on Untold-Arsenal as well

Stringer Bell
Stringer Bell
3 years ago
Reply to  AlwaysArsenal

Don’t confuse him ?

Trez
Trez
3 years ago
Reply to  AlwaysArsenal

1. Xhaka is a deep lying playmaker that plays alongside some energetic i.e Dahoud.
2. I did not say he was similar to Wilshere. Don’t be stupid. I said if wenger wanted a left footed CM, he should’ve kept wilshere. Wilshere is left footed. He plays as a cm
3. Xhaka IS NOT A BOX TO BOX PLAYER. So wenger is either trolling or he truly is confused. Your pick.

Umlaut
Umlaut
3 years ago

“The other night he came on and you could see him immediately impose himself on the game.”

What? I love Xhaka but did he even touch the ball after coming on? I don’t remember him having any sort of impact at all.

mc1892
mc1892
3 years ago
Reply to  Umlaut

I thought he was great. Some really good tackles and distribution, and kept the pace of the game largely at the one that suited us. He and Giroud made us look infinitely better.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon
3 years ago

Xhaka as the box to box player isn’t what most of us expected. We thought he would be competing with Coquelin, not Ramsey and Cazorla. Then again Wenger is known for saying one thing about the team and then selecting players in a total different way *cough* Walcott *cough*

Diarra
Diarra
3 years ago
Reply to  loose_cannon

Think he is just trolling the media with the comments about Walcott

Wolsty
Wolsty
3 years ago

We were lucky on Tuesday night against PSG to come away with a point. For me the centre of midfield wasn’t the issue it was the wide players. I thought Ox and Iwobi were poor first half and didn’t track back enough, which was where PSGs attacks mostly started from, wide areas. Cazorla must start against Hull as we need craft and guile to break them down. Not fussed whether he plays with Xhaka, Elneny or Coq to be honest. COYG.

Drew
Drew
3 years ago

Perhaps we trust the manager with decades of experience calling him a box to box player and not a holding midfielder rather than trust the people who have seen him play in one Euros and a few preseason matches.

Andy Mack
Andy Mack
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

He’s a quality player that can do both, so it’s really down to how the manager wants him to play in the squad.

Trez
Trez
3 years ago
Reply to  Andy Mack

Need him as a ball playing DM. Xhaka isn’t a better box to box midfielder than ramsey or jack. Why sign him for 35m then?

SDB
SDB
3 years ago
Reply to  Drew

wenger also wanted to turn yaya toure into a striker…

Sideshow _bob
Sideshow _bob
3 years ago

Elneny looks solid whenever he plays. Would love to see Xhaka and Elneny play together. I think they would compliment each other perfectly

The Ghost of Peter Storey
The Ghost of Peter Storey
3 years ago
Reply to  Sideshow _bob

Too defensive for home games, but possible for tricky away matches.

Dom47
Dom47
3 years ago

I don’t think it would be too defensive. It would be a very solid base in front of our defence, something we lacked for a long time. And both can go up and help the attack with passes to space for Alexis, Lucas and Theo and shoot from distance as well. As much as I like Santi he is not physical or fast enough for the CM role. He is one of the victims of Wenger’s moulding of players into unnatural roles to them, due to not buying good players who are natural in that position i.e. Arteta playing as… Read more »

A Gorilla
A Gorilla
3 years ago
Reply to  Sideshow _bob

Definitely.

Sideshow Mo
Sideshow Mo
3 years ago
Reply to  Sideshow _bob

“I say, Xhaka old man, your passing is most impressive”
“And you, Sideshow Mo, you have a most impressive engine”
“I daresay we complement each other perfectly!”
“Too true, too true.”
😉

CB
CB
3 years ago
Reply to  Sideshow _bob

‘Granit, you look lovely in that shirt.’

‘Mohamed, thanks so much, your hair is great too.’

arsens army
arsens army
3 years ago
Reply to  Sideshow _bob

I couldn’t agree more. Would have provided much needed cover on Tuesday evening, plus a bit of mettle.

The Ghost of Peter Storey
The Ghost of Peter Storey
3 years ago

You can either trust a manager who sees his players in training every day and has over 1600 games as manager, or you can go on your keyboard and slag him off.

He doesn’t always get things right, but neither does he do things at random.

Arsenally
Arsenally
3 years ago

When things become (inevitably) tough, and Emirates status booing, journalists will ask the same QN, and… “Look err… I have been managing here more than a thousand games, I have selected more than a hundred midfielders and a hundred midfield combinations. Onestly euuuuh, I don’t understand why you ask this question. I’m not a young manager who is learning!”

IceCoolMilkyT
IceCoolMilkyT
3 years ago

The question isn’t which holding midfielder can sit alongside Cazorla, it’s can we play with Cazorla and Ozil. Two creative central midfielders with limited defensive skills is one too many imo.

die hard gooner
3 years ago

Always wanting to turn defensive players in to attackers. Xhaka has played a defensive deep lying playmaker his whole life but lets just try him box to box. could this get any dummer. Alexis and walcott arent strikers, wilshere and ramsey arenot wingers or no 10s and playing players out of position is dumb. when will this ever end?

Chamakh
Chamakh
3 years ago

And still Guardiola always switches players to new positions when he comes to a new club and is branded a genius?

blahnlahblah
blahnlahblah
3 years ago
Reply to  Chamakh

And still Guardiola always switches players to new positions when he comes to a new club SUCCESSFULLY and is branded a genius?

Fixed

Andy Mack
Andy Mack
3 years ago

But Xhaka hasn’t always been a DM.
He’s always played MF but has always played in all 3 positions week to week.
Maybe it looks like it’s been more DM and B2B but he’s also played AM regularly.

Le Jim
Le Jim
3 years ago

I think when we look at his debut, he came on for about 20 minutes against Liverpool and seemed to really struggle. Made about four fouls and no successful tackles.

I honestly don’t see him as the box to box player Wenger was talking about, as he doesn’t seem the most dynamic. Following that, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he was left out against Southampton and PSG, who both press extremely hard.

Santi is two footed
Santi is two footed
3 years ago

Santi and Coquelin have been outstanding. If anything Coquelin was our best outfield player against psg. They pressed santi and stopped him from controlling the game as he usually does. Ox iwobi and ozil did not support well enough. If anything ozil has had a poor start to the season. And he should have stepped up to help santi in that game. Nothing wrong with startint coq and santi at all. Their record together has been fantastic. People have short memories.

CLEGooner
CLEGooner
3 years ago

Just fucking play Xhaka and Santi. Please.

Chamakh
Chamakh
3 years ago
Reply to  CLEGooner

That would be the least defensive setup you can create with this squad. Ozil and Cazorla don’t exactly offer too much protection to the back 4 and Zhaka is not a pure DM. It maybe worked against Watford but this was PSG f fs. It’s not like it was only the midfield that didn’t function in this match.

David M
David M
3 years ago
Reply to  Chamakh

Are you saying Santi and Xhaka can’t defend? Santi has been immense defensively this season. Xhaka is very strong defensively. And if Coq is not playing as a DM but rather right alongside Santi then his defensive strengths are reduced. I’m not sure what you’re arguing because if you watched the game against PSG you saw that the formation of double pivot/double CM/double box-to-box/2-1/santi & coq playing a line defensively (whatever you bloody want to call it) didn’t work and wasn’t strong defensively as we got smashed by the PSG pace and the defense was exposed far too often.

Chamakh
Chamakh
3 years ago
Reply to  David M

So you are saying that it is more about the formation than the players (Coq played as a CM instead of a DM against PSG ) which I can agree to. Which also means that by placing Coq and Santi as in previous seasons + having the wingers track back should work did Xhaka play or not. I would also like to see Xhaka play but am unsure of him and Cazorla against against stronger opposition with Ozil ahead of them offering little physicality. They didn’t look too good defensively during the 2nd half against Watford, and that was WATFORD.… Read more »

David M
David M
3 years ago
Reply to  Chamakh

They looked great in the first half and it made sense thatwatford came out strong in the 2nd half and they were going to be hungry. They were at home and they aren’t actually that bad of a team. They have looked good in their other games too from what I have seen…And Xhaka Cazorla was far from being poor in the 2nd half which you seem to be suggesting. xhaka can handle himself against anyone. Just look at him in the Euros. He doesn’t get pushed around and doesn’t back down. Santi might get pushed around from time to… Read more »

ben
ben
3 years ago

i don’t think there’s anything wrong with the Coq-Santi pairing. I think all to do with arsene tactic. have a look at Tim Stillman article very good write up.

Aurora
Aurora
3 years ago

Aren’t we reading too much into the Watford game? They had a back three instead of back four in the first half, which made the wings more accessible for distribution. As soon as they switched to back four, we were made to look ordinary again. We have a habit of extrapolating one performance into “the marquee performance”. I don’t deny Xhaka looks good, but give the guy some time to ease in. There is a 67 year old who closely observes all these midfielders on a daily basis and probably knows best what combination would work best. I’m sure we’ll… Read more »

Eddie
Eddie
3 years ago

why get an obviously superior player and then pussy around with theories instead of just playing him. He has played very well every time he has put him. Now he is so hell bound on his little Alexis experiment that he may lie to us about Giroud being injured, so he can chuck Alexis as a striker. Who injured Giroud after his red card

ger
ger
3 years ago

We were open and ripped to shreds at PSV.
The back four had no protection.

The high press works once in every 50 games against quality opposition…………..

DonkeyKong1.0
DonkeyKong1.0
3 years ago
Reply to  ger

psv ?

santori
santori
3 years ago

I have no problems with Corqzorla. The problem was we just played 2-3 days before the PSG clash. Surely rotation would have been beneficial. Granit/Elneny should be a decent pair. Even say f we want to keep some good form carried forward, maybe SantiGranit and sub Santi off for a rest with Elneny harrying 60 minutes in. I think its true that Le Coq does his best work next to Santi at the moment. Next to Ramsey, he was poor (worse than Flam), next to Elneny it was 50-50. So there is argument to keep that pairing intact. But that… Read more »

Hectorious
Hectorious
3 years ago

I think an important thing to remember about the Coq-zorla partnership was that is seemed to be most effective when Ramsey was playing from the right. His energy, stamina and intelligence allowed him to almost play as a third centre midfielder which appeared to negate most of the limitations that the coq-zorla partnership has (coq’s lack of confidence on the ball/ Santi’s lack of legs). I feel like without Ramsey there to offset these deficiencies and balance the midfield, the limitations of the coq-zorla partnership have a bigger impact on the team as a whole. Wenger talks about partnerships but… Read more »

Jeffrey Crumbley
Jeffrey Crumbley
3 years ago

Whoa, I don’t think it’s fair to say that the Cazorla Coz pairing worked because we didn’t lose. Let’s be honest, had it not been for some of the worst finishing we’ve seen in quite some time and some pretty solid goal keeping, we would’ve lost this game 4-1 easily. We got blasted by PSG/Cavani. Whatever AW was trying to accomplish did not work.

richardanus
richardanus
3 years ago

So, Xhaka & Elneny are top quality players but as a pair they’re only good enough for the bench. Eh ??

Arsenal selection confusion crisis.

Matt
Matt
3 years ago

Can’t beleive ppl here say the pair Santi + Coq has been top quality when we have struggled a lot in most games.
Xhaka offers so much more than Coq as a player and the team played quite well most of the time with him in. Coquelin is ok to enter the game to secure a result as he’s good at defending (and not what Wenger is telling him to do now which is to run forward)

rob
rob
3 years ago

Xhaka strength is his strength and long passing ability. He plays brilliantly at Watford in the holding role, spraying passes around on a six pence and Wenger wants him to play box to box. Wenger really can be a frustratingly stubborn.

Moral high ground
Moral high ground
3 years ago

As Tim Stillman’s blog convincingly argues Arsene likes stability. To the point where he won’t drop players or combos that are not working. Does not bode well for Xhaka and Elneny. He will persist with what he has . And he worships Rambo whose bad periods outweigh his good spells a good three to one. Just watch arsene mismanage a good squad. Just watch. Hope I am wrong!

Silky Smooth
Silky Smooth
3 years ago

I dont care what people are saying about any of our players, or even our manager, or the fact that we sending really talented players out on loan. What is doing my head in, is the fact that The Arsenal has gotten so fortunate all of a sudden! Last minute penalty equalizer scored in added time?! What is going on here? Lets be honest here: Dani is our only player long term injured at the moment?! Huh?!

richardanus
richardanus
3 years ago

…one or two players already regretting signing for us I think.

Gooner1886
Gooner1886
3 years ago

Imo games are won and lost in midfield. The shaky defence and misfiring attack would be instantly improved if we got the midfield balance right and started to dominate there, as we should most games with the midfielders we have to choose from.

I feel it’s also a symptom of wenger’s method of allowing players lots of freedom and decision making in how to play. I would much prefer we have a set system or two and then whatever personal we choose on a game by game basis, play within the chosen system.

Mark
Mark
3 years ago

I appreciate the fact that Wenger has options and he sees the players in training, watches the film, knows what he is asking for of players, has far more experience than any of us fans and certainly can make whatever decisions he wants to. However, my worry is that based on what he is saying he spent that much money on another Ramsey and he views Ramsey, Xhaka and Elneny as box to box players as well as probably Carzola with only Coquelin being our stay at home defensive midfielder (which is ironic that on Tuesday he was the one… Read more »