Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Wenger: Xhaka hasn’t mastered tackling

Arsene Wenger says Granit Xhaka has failed to master the art of tackling and urged the Swiss to stay on his feet in future.

The comments come in light of the 24-year-old’s second red card in Arsenal colours – his third of the season, including a dismissal at international level – even though the boss feels referee Jon Moss’ latest decision in the Burnley game was a bit harsh.

Speaking ahead of Arsenal’s game with Southampton – one of four matches Xhaka will miss as a result of his indiscretion – Wenger said:

“After watching it again, I think is harsh. It was not a dangerous tackle, it was a clumsy tackle.

You have to accept that you can be punished for this tackle now. He has to learn from that. I don’t think he wanted to injure anybody but overall, he has to learn from it.

“Unfortunately, we lose him for four games at a very important point of the season. Hopefully, we’ll get away with it.”

“[I have] More [concerns] about his technique,” continued the boss when challenged on his summer signing’s temperament.

“He’s not naturally a great tackler in his decision making. I think he’s quite intelligent on the pitch but it’s more the way he tackles that is not really convincing. He doesn’t master well the technique of tackling.

“I would encourage him not to tackle…to stay on his feet. That’s the best way to deal with it. Tackling is a technique that you learn at a young age, you can improve it but when you are face-to-face with somebody, it is better you stay up.”

Wenger also confirmed that Xhaka ‘denies completely’ the allegations that he racially abused a British Airways employee at Heathrow airport. The Swiss was questioned by police under caution after an incident was reported at the weekend.

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I agree, going down on a tackle isn’t good, though you may disagree.


Xaka should speak to Coq about sliding and tackling.




100% agree. Coquelin has absolutely mastered the art of sliding in hard and coming up with nothing but ball. I’ve never seen anyone as good at it as him.

Granit(e) hard!

Mustafi seems quite good at it too, from what i have seen of him so far.


needs to stop dangling his leg in the box though a-la Burnley’s pen. Tk fuck the linesman saved us up the other end. Let’s hope karma isn’t playing for the Saints tmw. COYG


Errrr…. Alessandro Nesta?? Coquelin is OK but still prone to stupid slide tackling

dr Strange

Nesta was amazing but Maldini is the best ever.


Or even Cazorla! I miss our little magician….


Quite odd to hear the Boss be so strongly dismissive of one of his players attributes. Hope its to encourage him to better himself.

Lula da Gilberto

Maybe he’s just drawing attention away from the other story. It’s a big loss for these four games, mind, not least because Chaos was excellent against Burnley until that foul.

Lula da Gilberto

Chaos of course being Xhaka’s middle name and not just my autocorrect.

Armchair Expert

There was indeed an excellent Chaos against Burnley.


Yeah, and he may also regret not appealing the first one which would surely have been overturned. So he will miss 7 games in total rather than just 3…


Coquelin should teach him


For years, he spent below market value for players, and didnt buy enough.

With Ozil, then Sanchez, as £42m and £35m respecitvely, he looked as if he finally bought a couple of world class players at reasonable prices – next to those two, £35m on Xhaka seems odd – even more so when he rightly points out that the newbie actually hasn’t mastered the technique of tackling……….


With hindsight Ozil and Sanchez were great value compared to the inflated prices that started hitting the market after that (higuain anyone?).

I don’t understand the stick xhaka gets though, he’s young and his temperament and decision making lapses sometimes, but watch him week in week out and it’s obvious he’s class. His distribution is unparalleled by anyone else in the team and the way he speeds up our transitions from defence to attack with those 20-30yd passes suits players like Alexis down to the ground.

In my view 35m will prove to be a bargain.

Keown's European double.

His distribution isn’t close to Santis. His lack of athleticism and positioning means he gets completely bypassed when where up against it, he was the worse player on the pitch v City and Burnley. Doesn’t get here the team with everyone fit.


Yea, personally I think Xhaka is a bit overrated


Have you seen the games Xhaka was playing?
Yeah, he got 2 cards, both harsh but acceptable
But his skills are impressive, easily the best long range passer in the team
35m for this player in the todays market is completely reasonable


Maybe, though some teams that I won’t mention have bought Kante or Gundogan for a cheaper price


… which means the “market price” is not that high

Hoosier Gunner

Kante was bought for 32 mil and Gundogan was on the last year of his contract and had only signed an extension, just so BVB get some money on his transfer.

Gus Caesar

It’s not really that odd. He said that he hadn’t ‘mastered’ tackling. To master means to acquire complete knowledge or skill in a certain technique or art. I think you will struggle to find any player who has mastered every technique; he just means that it’s an area for improvement for Xhaka, which it quite obviously is. Ozil and Sanchez have faults in certain areas of their games too.

Lula da Gilberto

The value of players does change over time. Thirty five for Xhaka today is a deal. We only go on about it because its Wenger. I think he’ll prove to be a good purchase.


Hoping this is just constructive public criticism. Because if AW really has concerns about a defensive mid’s ability to tackle, why on Earth did we buy him?

Le Jim

I think he’s mainly seen as a deep-lying midfielder, who uses his passing range and accuracy to make us tick a la Xabi Alonso or Arteta, rather than a strictly defensive midfielder.


Fair enough. he just hasn’t seemed to have play that role yet. Seems like without Santi our midfield gets confused


I feel sometimes xhaka gets clumsy only in matches where arsenal are on the recieving end of clumsy tackles. There were a couple of clear hacks at our players by Burnley which the ref ignored. In the context of the game it was clearly a yellow card. What I don’t understand is that referees are supposed to be uniform throughout a game but they change their decision making based on time remaining and who is fouling. Generally underdogs get away with a few bad ones

Yorkshire Gunner

Do we see Xhaka as a true CDM? Not sure he is in truth – More Alonso and Arteta than Matic or Makalele.

Gus Caesar

I agree. I don’t think we really play with a classic defensive midfielder now – even Coquelin now tends to get played as the higher of the midfielder pair.


I don’t think he’s a bad tackler per say..I just he can be a bit too impulsive at times. I think that tackle stemmed from being a bit pissed at Defour. I don’t know if he’s been told he can get away with these lunges because the Epl is an aggressive league or whatever, but this has put us in a very bad spot. With Elneny gone, we have to rely on Ramsey – Coq vs Chelsea…something which I’m really really dreading. It’ll be up to Kos and Mustafi to initiate attacks from deep. Xhaka will come good. He has… Read more »


It is a scary thought. I think a great work around would be to switch Iwobi to the mid and one of Theo,Ox,or Ramsey to the wing. Iwobi has a great ability to receive the ball and drive it forward,dodging the first press. Yes it feels like a slightly inexperienced pair,but that kid has all the attributes to make it work. I doubt it’ll happen,but whenever Iwobi has played there,he’s looked pretty good.


I dont think adding iwobi into the middle is a good move. Chelsea are a strong team. Id shift ozil wide left, drop alexis into the hole and play giroud top. Much more physicality centrally then. Providing ozil can track back…….


Wenger says Xhaka can’t tackle, I say Xhaka can! Coat is on… ?

chippy's chip

I feel for you mate.

Fireman Sam

Coat is on, but the zip don’t work


whats that got to do with the player

Wenga boys

I don’t think he has great intelligence. He passed the ball to an opposition player then went in studs up.. That’s what stupid people do.


He made a mistake and in a split second tried to correct it. Impulsive not stupid. His vision and quality of pass suggest intelligence to me.


If he had any intelligence he’d learn from his mistakes, but 8 red cards in two years proves he doesn’t. He also recently said he would not change his game for anyone, which is particularly stupid. You could never trust Xhaka in a big game, especially a final. Was he scouted properly? He’s nothing but an overpriced liability at this point.


Over the last couple of seasons our midfield, the heartbeat of Wenger’s great sides, started to resemble a vast wasteland with nothing much happening apart from Coquelin putting in reducers to stop us getting counter-attacked and Cazorla trying to clean up the mess with those quicksilver feet. Our build-up play was diabolical. We tried to shunt everything through the fullback areas and became one of the easiest top sides to press into submission. We couldn’t control games and only ended up scoring 65 goals over 38 games. This season after 22 games we already have 50. When we’re playing well,… Read more »


What this does reveal is that the manager did not address our shortage of defensive midfield players when he signed Xhaka. We have many ball players, with Xhaka joining the list, but only the Coq is a quality ball winner. If he gets injured we are in trouble and teams can pass through us. In the tough away games he is outnumbered. We are crying out for a Makelele, Kante, Gilberto etc to toughen us up.


Fully agree, we need another body in there. Maybe Wenger had other bids that went unreported in the summer? I know he wanted the versatile Djibril Sidibe who’s having a great season at Monaco playing mainly at full-back. Think he should put in a serious bid for Idrissa Gueye. He’s statistically the best tackling player in the entire league, he dominated Xhaka and Coquelin at Goodison Park, and he’d be eligible for Europe.


And John Moss hasn’t mastered refereei, but there we are!



Oh really? why the fuck did we pay $35 million for this cunt?

Does he know if you foul in the penalty area it will lead to a penalty too? No??


some players go down looking for pens, dont mean they are


How many times did scholes get away with clumsy tackles during his career.
We are an easy target. As usual.


“What is tackles??”


Granit’s merits outweigh his fault. Remember Viera also had plenty of reds. Not to mention Koscielny first season had reds, conceded penalties and own goals. Granit’s ability to release the ball quickly from deep and accurately to our front men higher up is something we lack without Santi. Unfortunately most pundits and amateur observers are plonkers and cannot see beyond their very short noses. He will get to grips with this part of the game and work to his advantage defensively. He isn’t Coquelin nor is the Frenchman Xhaka. Each player has his own strength and weakness. You play to… Read more »


The central midfield is rather thin at the moment. I think Wenger will persist with Ramsey Coquelin for lack of choice. Iwobi I feel can play in the position given his strength, use of the ball and dynamics carrying it. BUT he is untried and perhaps the ‘safer option’ is to fall back on the more experienced partnership. That said, Ramsey Coquelin was not the solid partnership many believed last season. We leaked 13 goals in 7 crucial matches with the pair. OTOH, the oft maligned Flamini developed a reasonable working understanding with the Welsh man. They presided over a… Read more »

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