Saturday, June 15, 2024

Wenger expands on how he sees Xhaka’s role

Arsene Wenger says that Granit Xhaka is neither a defensive midfielder or a box to box player, but more a deep-lying playmaker.

The Swiss international received his manager’s backing yesterday, but has yet to firmly establish himself as part of the team this season.

Asked if Xhaka was taking time to adapt, Wenger said, “Yes, but that is part of the job.

“People want you to buy players but when you buy them we only have 11 spaces and not 22, and they feel sorry for the 11 who do not play. You want them to compete and convince you that they can get in the team.”

And on what role he might play, the boss continued.

“Granit is more a deep playmaker I think than a box-to-box player,” he said. “He does not get in the final third of the opposition half a lot. He is more a guy who has a fantastic pass to play through the lines.

“He gets the ball from the defenders and finds the high midfield. His strength is what we call the ‘moderate-value pass’ – the passes that come from deep midfield to high midfield.”

That got me imagining a convention of superheroes.

“What is your strength?”

Superman: I’m really fast and strong and indestructible and shit.

Spiderman: Shooting webs and flying between buildings and that.

Hulk: SMASH.

Wonderwoman: Got this awesome shield and stuff.

Granit Xhaka: The moderate-value pass.

Everyone: Ooooooooooooooooohhhhhh!!

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Rambo's Thai retreat

Is there a low value pass then?? Weird


Seems like something Özil can do 🙂 Like that pass to Alexis that caused the penalty vs PSG. Could that count as a “low pass”?


Yeah, Coquelin does them all the time.

Little Mozart

The low value pass would be backwards or across. Also known as “doing a Denilson”

The Ozil example is high value because it’s into the box and the attackers directly.

So low value – Kos to Xhaka.
Medium value – Xhaka to Ozil
High value – Ozil into Sánchez on the 6 yard line

Then a backheel into the top corner or some shit

Frank Bascombe

Ramsey’s full of them. They’re back or sidewards and 1.3 seconds late.

Bendtner's Ego

We usually refer to the “low value pass” as a Denilson.


Anything Denilson plays is a low value pass.


Sounds like Cazorla replacement, no? And not playing when Cazorla is injured. Go figure.

El chuba libre

Xhaka the real MVP


Wenger previously said he saw him as a box to box midfielder. We need to see him play with Ramsey! Xhaka plays well with Elneny


Moderate value pass? Ooh Wenger


Don’t like this comment from Arsene. Seems to me like Arsene values those who join the high midfield, since he is an attack-minded manager.

I like Xhaka


Xhaka’s abilities on the ball enables the people who are supposed to play ahead of him to stay ahead of him.


Put Xhaka on the field, to start….We need his play, style and steel…imo. …


Come on Arsene, we all know that is exactly how you saw Xhaka. You just couldn’t say he was second choice behind santi…that’s why.
Anyone with half a brain knew it was impossible for santi and Xhaka to play as a pivot because we all know Santi doesn’t have the legs anymore to go b2b.
As it is, Coq is competing with Ramsey, Xhaka with Santi.
Playing Coq – Ramsey together just doesn’t work unless you have a bonucci/pique/Boateng as a CB. Kos is a good passer, but not as superb as the three mentioned.


Right on. He’s supposed to be Cazorla in the long term. Why is Wenger creating this confusion? I think you’ve got the right answer.
But what’s the harm in saying they will share the role? It’s the same for keepers and full backs or any other position where you have two players- they compete for the position.


So our build-up play was broken against Sp*rs, Wenger doesn’t pick Xhaka.
Broken against Manure, still no Xhaka.

Why not

Thumped by psg. Which game where you watching?


Shouldn’t moderate value pass just be called medium pass, as compared to short passes and long passes?


No. He means the pass’ value relative to the game. An assist would be a high value pass. A pass from Kos to Mustafi would be a low value pass (not important normally).

Getting out from the back and up to the front has moderator value. It’s the start of important passes. It’s not related to the type (long/short) of pass per se.


As a individual playe ye is second only to Özil in midfield and better than both Coq and Elneny. Howeverbit is not just about how skilledvor talented you are, you also have to fit the system and complement your partner.

But it’s understandable if Xhaka gets frustrated if this continues throughout the season, Cause he probably would be a starter in most big clubs out there.


what dialect were u speaking in the first para?



Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Only managers who are not obsessed with winning talk like that. Everybody has seen a very good DM in Xhaka but Wenger.

Dixon's Awesome Own Goal

Quite a lot of words to say, “I don’t know what to do with him”. Bit concerning. Hope he is given a chance tomorrow.

All Dogs Go To Heaven

He’s almost always played as a deep lying playmaker for the past few seasons already.
I think earlier this season Wenger saw something and was hoping to develop him into a box-to-box, but has now realised that Xhaka’s best position is where he was at. I agree with that, which is why he’d be a perfect combo with Ramsey or Wilshere just ahead of him.

All Dogs Go To Heaven

He can almost do the job of both Santi and Coquelin together, which is why he can be such a great player for us. He combines the attributes of our best midfield from recent seasons, and then you can stick Ramsey or someone in there with him and our team has been boosted overall.


I have not seen any evidence at all that Xhaka can tackle. He’s always a few steps behind, and gives a lot of fouls away. Coquelin’s work is highly underrated.


Wenger Sept 16th

“I prefer him as a box-to-box player. He has the engine to have an impact with his runs.”

Wenger Nov 25th

“Granit is more a deep playmaker I think than a box-to-box player,”

Conclusion: He spent £35m on a player without knowing his best position. Either that or he’s just talking in riddles. If he is a deep lying playmaker, then he should be a direct replacement for Santi instead of a bench warmer.


He knew exactly what type of player he was. Haven’t you noticed how careful he is with the club’s money? He would never spend that much if he didn’t know he gets exactly the type of player he wants. He was probably just talking him up when he paired him with Cazorla, as Xhaka had the “box-to-box role” in that combination.


Such indecisiveness from the manager…he saw him as a box to box weeks ago next he’s gonna say he plays best behind the striker smh…no wonder Wilshire is gradually coming to life under howe, would be struggling if he had stayed because Wenger doesn’t know the best position for him.

It’s criminal for us to be playing as poorly as we have been lately with the squad we have.


Xhaka is good, but no substitute for Santi…Xhaka is a mox of Ramsey/Coq. With better passing range. We need to sell Ramsey who is useless. People still remember that great half season he had few years back. In the absence of Santi, Xhaka has to be in with Coq. Ramsey, sell him to make some $$$$ for a younger direct substite for The Little Magician, Santi.


….substite for Santi, Jack Wilshere.


Can he be our luca modric then?

King Kolo

Xhaka is going to be the new Cazorla replacement, which suits me. We all thought Coquelin will be off/benched but I reckon we could see a Xhaka-Coquelin axis rather than Ramsey, Wilshere etc. Wilshere has to come back and challenge Ozil. There is no room for Aaron in this team. In fact with his Stevie G stylings you wonder if there is room for Aaron in any top team really…


I think Wenger wants Xhaxa to be a slightly less adventurous version of Ramsey when he is in fact an Arteta type player (Latter Career) Just better at everything.

The only game he didn’t play where i could not understand Wengers thinking was Ludogerets away. That is when Santi got injured when there was no reason for him to play when Xhaxa was suspended domestically.


I think he’s been worried by how he gets bypassed in some games defensively, and the Swansea sending off probably didn’t help. However his passing has been sublime and he moves the ball quickly both long and short, he’ll bed in, night take more time.


Yep, bloke needs to learn how to tackle. He also turns like a brick shithouse.


I mentioned before when we bought him that we are trying to replicate some of the attributes we miss without Santi. But we won’t be able to obviously replicate all of them. Granit brings the ‘Quarterback” ability to find players with deep (accurate) passes. But he also provides some reliance and size (where Santi does this differently with nimbleness and subtlety. Quite obviously, we do not have the Santi ability to glide pst players carrying the ball up field in Granit. This attribute I feel is best replicated by Jack. You won’t find the perfect replacement. Attributes of Santi have… Read more »


Agree but I don’t think Coq can play the deep role like in example no2. Imho it would have to be

Coq/Ramsey – Xhaka/Elneny

Or 4-3-3 with
Ozil rested/on the wing



I think similarly in attack we need to lock down to two or three set picks.

To break down teams who prefer to sit deep and compress lines in their half :


Against more mobile teams who cede space to us :


With Lucas returning there may also be a case to develop him as another alternate up top or on the flanks gradually.

But I would stick to the two selections as much as possible above to breed a familiarity between the players.


Yeah well no shit he’s a deep lying playmaker. I think 97% of us saw that. So are we going to use a deep lying playmaker or not? He’s not as much a pure DM as Coq because he’s a touch slower and goes too quickly to the card foul where Coq is quicker and more adept at walking that line most of the time. He’s certainly more the Arteta-Cazorla build up playmaker. But Santi’s got the magic feet to dance out of danger and not get caught turning it over in our own half. We might see him more… Read more »


I think we should play 4-4-2 against teams that defend deep. We had that form in the end of the PSG match. Lucas instead of Giroud if we want to counter. ———–Alexis – Giroud——– Ozil – Ramsey/Coq – Xhaka – Walcott/Ox Monreal -Kos – Mustafi- Bel/Jenk Ramsey and Ozil can interchange positions, as can Ozil and Alexis which can move us back to 4-2-3-1 that we use atm. Or diamond Alexis – Giroud/Walcott/Lucas ——-Ozil——– Ramsey—–Elneny/Ox ——-Xhaka—— Monreal-Kos-Mustafi-Bel Don’t say these would definitey work but we have so many options atm and think we should test alternative tactics. Tbf the current… Read more »


Jesus Blogs, is this a reprint or do press conference journalists literally have no creative curiosity. Nothing new to see here.

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