Xhaka reveals all about Heathrow incident + Shearer dig

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We’ve already run a few Granit Xhaka quotes today…now, courtesy of reader Florian Schneider, we bring you a full translation of a separate interview conducted by publication Tagesanzeiger.

There’s a bit of an overlap in the questions the Swiss midfielder answers but also some interesting new material including a proper dig at Alan Shearer and his take on the incident at Heathrow that saw him questioned by police.

PLEASE NOTETo websites/blogs/media organisations: if you take the translation from here, a link back to this article would be greatly appreciated.

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Four defeats from the last five league games, Arsène Wenger is facing heavy criticism.

That’s all true. Let’s take our game against West Brom: This defeat was hard. We were the better team, but we conceded two goals from corners, and that was enough to lose.

On BBC Alan Shearer got going. “No hunger, a totally disturbing performance”, he said.

What kind of analysis is that from these experts? What am I supposed to say? They don’t see what’s going on at Arsenal, I’m sorry. It’s better I refuse any further comment. Let’s make it short: At the moment we lose matches we shouldn’t lose. Against Bayern it was the same at our stadium. For 60 minutes we were clearly the better side, had chance after chance. But then there was the penalty, the red card, and then it became difficult. Against Bayern you even struggle at 11 vs. 11.

And in the end it’s the same score line as in the first leg: 1:5.

Exactly, and the 60 good minutes are forgotten.

How do you perceive the intense agitation that’s been surrounding your manager lately?

A lot of things are written, especially on Social Media, that don’t leave you cold. If a player says he doesn’t care what’s happening around him, he has no feelings. I’m hurt for the manager because I’m aware: In the end it’s us players who are responsible for how we perform on the pitch. In order to find our way out of this low there have to be even more fighting qualities.

Are you convinced that Wenger will stay?

Yes.

Why? Is it the love for football?

I can’t answer that. I only know that he is an outstanding manager, an outstanding guy, very open and direct. Unfortunately in football only the current state is examined and what was yesterday, in the past years, is forgotten. The people demand a title from Arsenal, above all the Premier League. But they forget we had to integrate a couple of new players – and that no coach manages to win the league title with a lot of new players straightaway.

Do you feel the criticism is over the top?

The expectations are high, so we know: If we fail to meet them, there will be criticism. And we have high expectations ourselves. We are not happy with 4th, 3rd, or 2nd place either.

In Mönchengladbach it was a lot calmer.

We didn’t have the goal to win the title or to qualify for the Champions League every year.

But you were looking for that: a club with higher ambitions. Are you afflicted by the situation?

No. I can deal with it.

And what is the media criticism you’ve been facing in London doing to you?

Always those experts… Anyone can remark something, and when I get a red card anyone can accuse me of being a dirty player.

…Former Liverpool player Danny Murphy said that…

I hate it when people judge me who don’t know me at all.

When you have to read of yourself as being a reckless, even brainless player, it has to affect you, hasn’t it?

I am aware of it. But if all these accusations were true I wouldn’t be at Arsenal. That doesn’t add up for me.

What could be the motivation of the critics?

No idea. I only know: Nobody destroys me. They can write and speak what they want. I know my qualities, and the boss knows them, otherwise I wouldn’t be where I am today. I believe I have a bad reputation for referees. I have been shown two red cards this season, okay. But when I compare them to the Zlatan Ibrahimovic incident, who was not even shown a yellow card for an elbow, I struggle to understand it.

Do you think the referees have a special eye on you?

I can’t get rid of the feeling – as often as I have been booked after the first foul.

Are you more cautious in your tackling?

Not at all. If it happens, it happens. I go into a tackle where it’s necessary. To pull my foot out, that’s not happening.

What is Wenger’s advice to you?

That I stay on my feet.

He also said that tackling is not your strength.

I have read that. But sorry, that doesn’t mean he really said it like this.

Vladimir Petkovic (manager of the Swiss national team) agrees with Wenger. He says you have to learn that.

Let’s put it this way: I am not the player who has to slide-tackle ten times each game.

Supposedly there is no tougher league than the Premier League.

Yes, thank you! (laughs)

During your time at Gladbach you said after the red card against Sevilla that you had not reflected enough. And that you have to learn to be cleverer. Is the process not finished yet?

Against Sevilla it was two bookings, and I have to confess it was stupid from me. What I have to learn is not to let myself get provoked as quickly. And until today what happened against Sevilla has not repeated, so I’m on a good path.

Apart from your sending-offs you are in a comfortable position at Arsenal – you are an indisputable starter.

After seven months in London still a lot is new for me. Still I have settled much quicker than I did at Mönchengladbach. The first six months in Germany and the first six months at Arsenal – they are different worlds. At Gladbach it took far more time for me to settle.

Are you sometimes surprised by yourself? After a suspension you get back into the side right away.

I would not have expected to start in Munich against Bayern in the Champions League. For me, though, it was a clear signal which did me really good. So far a lot has worked out for me, of course also because I have been spared from injury.

In certain games you manage 100, 120 touches. What does that tell you?

That’s my style. If I don’t have the ball at my feet it’s difficult for me. I need the ball.

Wasn’t it a change from German to English football?

Yes, of course. In the beginning sometimes I felt my thigh since English football is more intense in terms of physicality than in Germany, completely different football. I like it. I am glad to have made the step.

Do you miss the Bundesliga?

Yeah, yeah. But it’s not like I want to go back tomorrow. Maybe the day after tomorrow. (smirks)

How is life at Arsenal?

At Gladbach we often went out for dinner with a few team-mates, at Arsenal we usually train in the morning – after that everybody goes their way.

Do you miss the social part after training?

Sometimes yes, if you have known that for four years. But I’m not alone in London, my fiancée is with me. So it’s okay.

Who is the leader on the team? Mertesacker? Koscielny, Özil, Sanchez?

I can’t settle for only one.

Do you have ambitions yourself to climb to the very top of the hierarchy?

I do have goals. But I don’t want to repeat the mistake I made at Gladbach.

Which one?

To open my mouth unnecessarily. When I arrived in Gladbach I was 19 and had a big mouth. I told everyone everything about my goals. Nowadays I think first, I weigh up. And I observe a lot and watch players like Mertesacker or Koscielny who have 500 games in their legs.

How must one imagine life in London?

Very calm, very cool. I enjoy living here. Sometimes we go to the city, sometimes we stay at home.

And sometimes you go to the airport…

Yes, and from there to the police station. I know what you are referring to. I have never experienced something like that before.

When you took the brother of your fiancée to Heathrow in January there was an argument with an airport employee – and allegedly you were detained. What happened exactly?

I’m happy to tell you since I have already told the police. The brother-in-law checked in, handed his bag in, we were early enough. I told him: “Let’s drink a coffee. We have enough time.” Okay. When he wanted to go through the security check suddenly that was not possible. That was 30 minutes before departure. We were astonished. One of the security guys, who had taken a photo with me five minutes earlier, claimed the brother-in-law had not checked in. We asked: “Why can’t he fly? He has to work tomorrow.” We asked British Airways what the problem is. The employee said “you haven’t done the check-in yet. And now you are two, three minutes too late.” We couldn’t believe our ears, looked for a flight to Nordrhein-Westfalen (Germany) but couldn’t find any. We returned to the British Airways desk and asked the lady at least to give us the bag back.

And?

She replied: “Over there on the left” and turned away. I started talking in Albanian with my fiancée and brother-in-law, and suddenly four police officers showed up, all of them armed, and asked what happened. I replied: “No idea.” The officers told me I allegedly called the lady a “white dog”.

White dog? What’s up with that?

Yeah. Absolutely absurd. Then they told me I had to come with them. After that I spent four and a half hours at the police station, until 1 AM: Interrogation of everyone involved, documents check, etc. For the first time ever I was baffled. I thought: This can’t be. And I asked my fiancée and my brother-in-law: “Where is the hidden camera?” That’s how I was feeling. During the interrogation they put the allegation on the table that I had called the employee a “white bitch”, not a “white dog”. Surely something could not be right here. I expected the story to be shut. But the next day, boom!, it looked different: Headlines from England to Spain, and it lasted for days. I was even accused of racism.

Did Wenger reproach you?

No. I told him the story the way it went. He just laughed. He said: “You don’t have to worry. You have the protection of the club.” He probably knows that as well.

And he was right.

Yes. Just the next day the police said there was nothing in this record and that I was completely innocent.

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Jake Valen Noronha

I am sure we have all seen how Arsenal (more recently) haven’t got the luck. Be it from referees, silly defending or just the mentality. The words ring through always, “Club is always bigger than the player.” While Ozil is not to be seen, and Sanchez happily in Chile, media is now targeting other arsenal players. Just think we as supporters should follow the club – believe in the manager (for this season) and forget about the board and media attention, and leave the vindication to the pros a.k.e. Arseblog! Onto the next game. Cmon you gooners!! P.S. If we… Read more »

Uhtred of bergkampburg

Well said sir

d_lastgenius

Wonder why this has thumbs down.. typo/thumbo?? ?

Trez

Different scenarios. Henry was past his best and we had a very talented RVP and a decent Adebayor to fill in not to mention the creativity of cesc, rosicky and Hleb. Now we’re in a much tougher epl awash with TV money and honestly, can you tell me anyone in the squad that can step up if both leave?? We are already seeing how much we struggle in the final third without Ozil despite the criticism he gets. Why would the likes of Griezmann, Reus, Belotti, Lacazette, Mbappe come to this team with if we mostly likely don’t make the… Read more »

Xhakira

+10 points for the Shearer response

midgunner

Shearer and Murphy both wankers.

Doesn’t speak much of team ethic that they only train then part ways, you do wonder if there any sense of being ‘in it together’, especially with what we’ve heard about discord in training.

JP_Roussy

I agree with that. Only very rarely a team can perform without being good friends.

Don

“Who is the leader on the team? Mertesacker? Koscielny, Özil, Sanchez?

I can’t settle for only one.”
That’s because there aren’t any.

locksley444

Agreed, a leader should be able to walk the walk and talk the talk. We have one or the other. Don’t know why people can’t accept it. Alexis and Kos can walk the walk most days but they’re seemingly not ones to give rousing speeches or mentor youngsters. Mertesacker can’t lead by example on the field anymore.

Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaa

I think you make a good point. Koscienly isn’t the kind of guy who would scream at teammates and be the main organizer. He’s the sort of person who is a perfect professional that leads by example. At the moment we definetly lack vocal leaders with big personalities. Our players are just too nice. Xhaka and Mustafi seem like they can grow into that sort of figure. No one can come to a new team and be a leader strait away, and if you’re an optimist, it’s situations like these that bring the squad together. If they can buckle down,… Read more »

Moneypig

Mertesacker yelled at Özil when he wouldn’t greet the fans, remember?

Another 2 years(it hurts)

I wonder why you get downvoted so much, it’s true we have no leader on the pitch, i think we all can see it.

Third Plebeian

Down with your sense-talking!

shmokin\'em

Now people are jus taking the piss with the thumbs down. Surely people aren’t this thick…probably

Gooooooooonnnnaaaaaaaa

No, because he is media trained enough not to fall for a trap. If he said mertesacker was the leader, you probably would have seen headlines saying: Xhaka claims Arsenal lack leadership without Mertesacker.”

He seems a smart and mature person, and looks like someone who couple he a future captain at Arsenal. I’m impressed by him so far, I can see him really kicking on next season after having a full preseason with us.

Bould\'s Eyeliner

Fascinating. Honestly, if I were in his position, a few choice words along the lines of the alleged insults would have likely been the first things out of my mouth. In English too.

Good to hear some fight from a player, instead of resigned media sound bites. COYG, pick yourselves up.

Billy

I know he maybe hasn’t had the greatest season but I can’t help but love the guy

Twatsloch

Before I start reading I will confess that I’m blown away that an original member of Krafwerk has translated an interview with Xhaka for us.

Bertieme

This is one of the best interviews I’ve read. Truthful and real. so many times we read mindless pap interviews but you get a sense of the player here.

Third Plebeian

For example, I think Aaron Ramsey is probably a lovely bloke who is ever so kind to his friends and family, but when he steps up for an interview I feel the sudden urge to scream. Walcott can do that to me as well.

Rohith J

He will be alright. Xhaka will step up next season.

Greg

Go on granit! Great interview

Mafia Don Arsene too by the sounds of it

Andre Kelley

He said: “What? You have mutilated bodies of Shearer and Murphy in the trunk? You don’t have to worry. You have the protection of the club.”
Just the next day the police said there was nothing in this record and that I was completely innocent.

Anthony

Interesting interview. He speaks well, and seems to be a reasonably sensible chap.

The airport story is even stranger now. I said at the time that, of course, if he had been rascially offensive then he should be reprimanded accordingly – as with anyone.

Now it seems it’s very much a non-story and hasn’t affected his place in the team.

Sherlock Holmes

The only problem is that the airport story as told above does not add up. If his brother had checked in, he would have been given a boarding card which you would show as you pass security. Also the situation with the bag does not make sense. If you check in and hand over a bag it will whizz through on the conveyor belts and be sent on it’s way to the plane. It won’t be left at the check-in desk for you to pick up later.

BlindOrange

And if your bag has arrived on the plane but you haven’t boarded, the plane will be delayed whilst they remove it, for obvious security reasons. And in that situation, losing the take-off slot may delay take-off by hours. It is therefore nonsense to prevent a passenger boarding IF they have checked hold baggage. And no regular traveller would dream of deciding to go through security 30 minutes before take-off at a major airport. Whether or not insults or aggressive language happened and by whom, I cannot say but on the basis of only one side’s evidence I would suggest… Read more »

Another 2 years(it hurts)

Good interview, blatant answer. He looks tough in this interview, but on the pitch he looks confuse and unconfident. It’s on point that his strenght is on passing, else is average at best. Needs someone like Kante by his side to do the defense stuff and maybe we can maximize his potential. Maybe we can sign his partner at Wolfsburg, Dahoud? I dont know his name though, he seems like a good box to box CM, or Arda Turan maybe could be the answer despite his age.

Tom

Sounds like your really on the ball there? Maybe you could be on charge of signing… who’s that guy again?

Chrispy

He makes so many good and valid points and the episode at he airport sounds like a load of bollocks he was on the end of. Thanks for the translation. I like him.

Clive St Helmet

Yet another player who fully supports the manager. I just don’t get it, Wenger is literally the only thing standing between Arsenal and eternal glory, and the very people who work with him day on day out can’t see that he is to blame!

Doug

Maybe the people that work with him every day see his passion and desire to win. Glad someone like you that watches a game once a week knows better than the people wearing the shirt actually doing something!

spinner

Or maybe you will never see a player publicly say that he wants his manager to leave.

Clive St Helmet

Sorry Doug, perhaps my sarcasm was a little too subtle for you. I’m trying to make the point that laying all the blame on Wenger is just stupid.

Paul

Off topic. Emergency services pride of London and we are not scared.

shmokin\'em

Hoax

Gervinho

It’s ironic that he was accused of racism.

Lord Nicki B

Arsene may have had a horrible season, but he’s had some brilliant quotes.

“You are dishonest to your federation”
“You have the protection of the club”

Tom

I heard after he was told “you are dishonest to your federation” he was asked to choose his next words very wisely he said; “fuck off”.

Big Ticket

While Xhaka certainly has lit the league on fire this year, keep in mind he’s only 24 – still time to progress before he enters the prime years of his career. I just hope we can find the right partner for him in midfield so we can best utilize his main attribute: his long range passing.

Crash Fistfight

It seems a bit sad that the players don’t seem to mix with each other. Is that an after-effect of the lego-haired one leaving? He brought a great camaraderie to the club when he was captain, making the players mix together instead of sticking to their own cliques. Maybe I’m over-thinking this!

sad eyes

Agreed, very strange that there seems to be little team building, little camaraderie. What kinda team spirit will be built like that?

Wade wilson

I agree crash, I hate seeing teams try to intimidate our players without us piling in. I know we get harsh treatment from refs. But nothing gets the crowd more partisan than seeing us defend ourselves and front up to antagonism ( bring back the put the kettle on days). Anyway enlightening interview, I just hope we can get a more team based environment going. Probably need to bring more youth through? I dunno, great work blogs!

Wolf

I actually think this is more of a reflection on current English (or rather Premier League) football culture in general. I’ve read this about players at other clubs too. They all swan off in their big cars to their mansions after training. But part of that is the limelight and intense scrutiny they’re under here. In Germany players are probably able to go out for a meal after training without being bothered. There is a lot more mingling with supporters and less of a distance to the players. But going out in London, with media swarming about, picking up every… Read more »

BidOnLard

Shearer is a white dog!

Jonas

I do love me some Zlatan, but Granit makes a great point. Far worse has gone uncalled/carded by better and less known players. He seems pretty sharp.

Little Mozart

I fucking love Granit Xhaka. He’s talented, proficient, no-nonsense, and he’s got a left foot that could thread the eye of a needle. We still have much more to come from this young man.

uncle D

COYG!!!!

shokim

Thanks for the great work, Blogs! Feel that Xhaka gave a frank and insightful interview.

In addition, We Stand Together.

Aditya swarup

The only conclusion I can draw: Never fly British “Racist and pompous” airways.

Aditya swarup

And yeah hope that white bitch hasthe worst form of dysentery ever.

Crash Fistfight

Please take your racist ways elsewhere.

Mac

“Are you more cautious in your tackling?”

Not at all. If it happens, it happens. I go into a tackle where it’s necessary. To pull my foot out, that’s not happening.”

Geezer.

P.Ah.Diop

I love the last part on the chat with Wenger after the airport incident.
I want him at Arsenal forever, no matter as manager or sporting director. He makes it a family

BringSeamanBack

I love how he gives short to the point answers, instead of the likes of media trained Theo who waffles on and on and repeats himself to drag out the answer..

Lula da Gilberto

another funny anecdote from Arsene. Despite my own views on him, his response to the Oxlade-Chamberlain issue on Twitter was funny as well in fairness.

santori

I like Granit. Sounds honest and feisty. “experts” like Danny Murphy, mediocre player for a ‘big team’ who has not won the league title for 25 years (Quarter of a century) despite following media prescription of constant managerial change. Alan Shearer moaning about lack of fight… Liverpool are a team in transition since the early 1990s…what a laugh. So Granit gets a couple of reds…ever heard of Patrick Viera? Koscielny who gets laud ad tedium also had plenty of reds, Own goals to boot and Penalties conceded in his first season with us but some people like to get on… Read more »

santori

Granit’s range of passing is IMO what Wenger brought him in for. I think we miss that extra axis of creativity from deep midfield with Ozil last season burdened to produce the creativity higher up alone. What we are still lacking through is in replicating Santi’s quick feet and ability to carry the ball through the middle. I’ve spoken about how Diaby (poor lad) was after Viera, one of the few players who could work the vertical. Jack also comes close. But Wenger again defied the critics in transforming Santi into the middle deep lying midfield role (he has been… Read more »

santori

1) Alan Shearer…the same Newcastle who got relegated because their owner is far from silent. The same team who sacked Bobby Robson when they were consistently close to Top4 late nineties early 2000s. The same team who pathetically celebrated drawing against ten men. 2) Danny Murphy, Michael Owen, Jamire Carragher, the same Liverpool who have been title contenders in ‘transition’ for a Quarter of a Century despite football genius like Brendan Rodgers. 3) Worth noting from the likes of Rio that despite massive spending on the Special One, Pogba and enormous salary for Zlatan…their ambition this season (after 3 outside… Read more »