Xhaka calls for continued defensive focus

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Granit Xhaka says it doesn’t matter whether he’s partnered in midfield with Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey or with Mohamed Elneny, Arsenal will only achieve success if everyone in the squad is pulling in the same direction on the defensive front.

With 36 starts to his name in all competitions, the joint highest at the Emirates, the Swiss has had to repeatedly adapt to the differing styles of teammates coming in and out of the side this season.

While he still seems to struggle with the pace of English football at times, the Swiss has looked more comfortable in recent Europa League wins over AC Milan; a competition the Gunners will look to prioritise in the coming months.

In the official matchday programme ahead of Arsenal’s Premier League game with Stoke on Easter Sunday, Xhaka touched on life behind Wilshere and Ramsey and the need for collective responsibility.

“When I play with those two, I’m a bit deeper, basically just in front of the defence,” he said.

“Jack and Aaron like to go forward, to get into the box, whereas I’m happy to stay back and build the play from a deeper area.

“In the past it’s worked well, even if we haven’t had the results to back that up, and in the AC Milan games, we combined well together.

He added: “Mo [Elneny] likes to sit quite deep sometimes, and think from a defensive perspective.

“Jack and Aaron naturally go forward more. But we all have our qualities and always try to help each other out.

“I’ve always said that to be successful, you need all 11 players, plus those on the bench and those in the squad.

“You can’t just win a game because two or three players have a good game. You have to work together as a unit, both in defence and in attack. I think we’ve become stronger defensively because we’re all really focusing on what we need to do.

“Everyone knows that we have a lot of quality going forward, but at the moment I think we’ve got that balance and we need to keep that.”

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Wengerballz

Would be good if he becomes what we hoped he would be

Gooooonnnnnnaaaaaaa

“You have to work together as a unit, both in defence and in attack. I think we’ve become stronger defensively because we’re all really focusing on what we need to do.”

Hallelujah!! How many seasons in a row have we heard that!?

LuisBoaMuerte

I just cant’t see him ever being the player we need. He just doesn’t evade pressure well. Like he’s got very little spatial awareness of the opposition not in his field of view when he receives the ball. He’s also really stilted on the ball and telegraphs everything. When you try to play out from defence you need your deepest midfielder to be super capable under pressure and Xhaka playing that role is a large reason why we get turned over in our half so often. Especially in the high intensity of the PL. Like, under a new coach, he… Read more »

yen

Hopefully he picks up where he left off as well. Been our best player over the last 3 games. Armband for Switzerland surely another confidence booster. Go Granit!

Thierry Bergkamp

It feels like there’s been no football for months

Thierry Bergkamp

What are all these Atari graphics looking images about?

Arsenala Vista Baby

They have been chosen to become your face in here..

arseblog

You can get your own image by using gravatar.com

Arsenala Vista Baby

Can we just start the game now?

ramgooner

Feels Lans. Like a new season.

Anonymarse

I would like a new season

Mpls

A few more good results under our belt for a better outlook, then yes indeed.

Gunnerlocutor

Defensive focus would be lovely. Even more lovely would be a Ramsey screamer to win the game, which bangs off Shawcross’s face on the way in while the Orcs sing one of their pathetically cruel songs. That would be some serious karma.

Teryima Adi

He’s got a lot of arsenal in that left foot.

Vehcede

Not gonna claim that I knew he’d be great all along, but Xhaka is slowly but surely becoming a crucial part of our midfield. He is constantly improving his perceived flaws and on his way to being a complete midfielder

renaissancerosicky

Hahahahahaha, irony of ironies ? Love it.

Geo

Poor management again, with his lack of pace he must play in smaller spaces. With 2 players either side he can be very good, with one we are way to exposed.

Zizou

We will usually lose a match right after this type of “call” was made