Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Xhaka positive ahead of second leg – ‘Nothing is finished’

Granit Xhaka says ‘nothing is finished’ despite a frustrating evening at the Emirates that saw a dominant Arsenal pegged back by a late Atletico Madrid equaliser.

Alexandre Lacazette’s header on 61 minutes looked to have broken the resistance of Diego Simeone’s side, however, despite being down to ten men for most of the game, the visitors struck back to make it 1-1 when Antoine Griezmann took advantage of some woeful Gunners defending.

Arsene Wenger’s players now know they must score in the second-leg in Madrid if they are to make the Europa League final in Lyon on 16 May.

“I think we played a great match,” Xhaka told

“Atletico had one shot on our goal and scored. It’s unbelievable because we didn’t want that today, we wanted to have a good result at home. But it’s 1-1 and now we must focus on next week.

“We had a lot of chances. We were a bit unlucky with the amazing match of the goalkeeper of Atletico. A 1-1 draw isn’t the result we wanted but nothing is finished.

“We know we must score one goal. We must play like we did today, we must focus over 90 minutes, because you can see it’s always dangerous against Atletico.”

Having had over 76 per cent possession and 28 shots at goal*, Xhaka admitted that he didn’t really have an explanation for how the Gunners didn’t secure a win.

“I’m not one who has an explanation for it now,” he went on.

“Just after the game it’s very disappointing. I think today we were clearly the dominant side over the 90 minutes. We made chances and I think other teams would have struggled to make as many as we did against Atletico.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t get the result – a 1-0 would have been enough – but we conceded a silly goal and now we have to go to Madrid and play exactly as we did today… if you look at the game today, you can see that we can compete against Atletico.

“OK, we had a man more, but we created chances even before the red card. We just need to approach the game in the same way, try to score and then win the game.”


*stats via the Stats Zone app. 

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I don’t understand the negativity and whining from the fans on this site. Even the guys on AFTV are way more optimistic than you lot.


Do eff off then


It’s good Tim you admit to being negative and a whiner e


The irony being that you’re the first to post a negative comment, are you bored or just pushing for a reaction?


Some on AFTV were more positive but a lot weren’t. I can understand the disappointment, but the way we play, with 1-1 scoreline at least we know we have to go for it next week.


“Atletico had one shot on our goal and scored”

WRONG. They had a couple of decent shots on target. Ospina made two decent saves before we conceded. Why do these guys come out and talk thrash.
Xhaka should look at himself and work on his shooting.


He may have got the facts wrong but he got the sentiment right. Atletico came out ahead on far fewer chances and that shouldn’t happen. He’s acknowledging that.

Yes, his shot selection needs some work for sure. Weak foot from 10 yards outside the box with 4 men in there. That shouldn’t happen either.


Thrash talking sounds very aggressive

Scott P

I think we need to pick our heads up a bit here and get on with the next leg. I understand that through the lens of what we should have achieved last night, the result is very disappointing. But one away goal is not the end of our hopes. Many people debated whether it was better to play Atletico over 1 leg or 2. This result means essentially we have to go to Madrid and win. Because there’s only 1 away goal, it means if we win even 1-0, we still go through. Essentially, we have to treat this now… Read more »


We need to channel the kind of 2nd leg performances we had away to Bayern and Monaco when we lost both 1st legs 1-3 before winning 0-2 in the away leg. Also like Xhaka says we created good chances even before the red card.

Important we don’t concede early in Madrid. They will be wondering whether to stick or twist so we can hopefully take advantage.

Casimir Knight

I’m with you but actually not too bothered about the risk of conceding early. Obviously don’t want to but we should just go for it – a goal for them doesn’t change as much as a goal for us does. GOYG


”try to score and then win the game” – eye opening stuff there. should replace Wenger as our manager, mate.


He meant not settle for a draw. Fairly obvious to anyone with an iota of common sense

A Different George

I want to reiterate what I posted on the 7amkickoff post: Last night’s match showed, even allowing for 11 against 10, that we are as good a side as they are, maybe better; all the earlier talk about a big gap in quality was wrong. This does not mean we will win, it means we can win, in London, in Madrid, or (if it had happened that way) in Lyon.


We battered them for the whole game. I don’t think they will be looking forward to the next one.

Merlin's Panini

We still have a chance. It’s only 1-1.
We’ll hopefully have Mkhi back. It’s a shame that last night was a wasted opportunity.

Also, just seen Unai Emery is definitely leaving PSG. Am I the only one who would rather have him than any of the other candidates mentiones so far?
Given he won the Europa three years in a row he would be ideal given our current situation and possible fate next season.


Not my first choice but I’d snatch him over Enrique tbh


Was very very annoying to concede. But we played well for most of the game, their defense is the best in Europe for a reason. If we go there and score, all of sudden it’s them who have it all to do.



I thought Granit was largely excellent as he has been in recent games.

he is settling in to his role as a deep playmaker now but also better with his challenges.

He is better than Elneny because he transitions us much quicker (taking nothing away from the Egyptian’s improvements) with his long accurate balls.

But we need to take advantage of it.

…thus far, we are still too reliant on the fullbacks coming up to join in for width and pace.

Big Cheese

We aren’t “too reliant” on our fullbacks, that’s what they’re supposed to do. We aren’t using true wide wingers, we use inverted wingers who tend to cut inside (Mkhi) or drop deep (Ozil) so we need that width Bellerin and Nacho provided (they were excellent on Thursday).


Xhaka’s right – we ran the game. In Madrid we’ll actually put those goals away, beat their “invincibles” and watch Simeone explode into a million purple pieces.


“now we have to go to Madrid and play exactly as we did today” – well, maybe not *exactly* as we did Granit.


God, Only our fans can claim that we’re ‘Better’ then Atletico despite drawing at home while playing against 10 players for over 80 minutes…

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