Saturday, May 25, 2024

Xhaka: We knew we wouldn’t lose

Granit Xhaka’s performance in midfield against Liverpool on Saturday went some way to ensuring we took something from a game which was less than ten minutes away from going in favour of Jurgen Klopp’s side.

In tandem with the irrepressible Lucas Torreira, the Swiss international helped the Gunners control a key area of the pitch, and once again the team showed a resilience to come from behind to make sure they took at least a point.

Having been deployed at left-back in recent weeks, having the 25 year old back in the middle gave Arsenal a better balance and his work defensively and offensively was excellent.

He spoke after the game, and said that the mentality of the team this season is what has enabled Unai Emery’s team to remain unbeaten since losing to Chelsea in mid-August.

“A lot of small things have changed,” he said after the 1-1 draw. “We have great character.

“If you are 1-0 down for example against Liverpool, we come back and it’s not the first time.

“We knew we would not lose this game because we were so good and showed that character again.

“If you see this game, you can see we are ready for the top four. I think we can be happy with our performance.

“We know Liverpool have a good team but we gave everything and we showed a great game. In my opinion we were the better team.”

He also took some time to praise his midfield partner who, on the day, was the outstanding performer.

“Every game is better and better,” Xhaka said of the former Sampdoria man.

“He is so important. He knows when to go and when to stay. He brings good balance between offence and defence.”

Perception : Running : Midfield Control : Concentration

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Chidi

Xhakaterrier bromance! Me likely!

Chidi

*likey… ?

Pedant

Growing to like him much more than before.

And liking the team spirit even more.

yen

YES MY CAPTAIN

santori

Finally unleashing his potential.

Wenger could not provide the direction needed.

Under Emery, we are seeing player improvement and critically a growing confidence in the team not least helped by the result (and more importantly) the manner of execution against Liverpool.

Alex

A shame Wenger didn’t trust Coquelin more… With experience and games, he would have been the real asset. But welcome Lucas!

Sean

Already downvoted this, but going to go a step further…
What does this comment even mean?

Lord Bendnter

I am a big fan of Le Coq. But, I don’t think Le Coq comes anywhere near to the solidity Torreira provides in that position. Torriera is a much better player than Le Coq. If Le Coq were here, Emery would keep him on the bench in favor of Torreira

santori

Coquelin was a decent player but was imagined to be a better player than he was. I mentioned before that Flamini was a more effective player than may cared to imagine. He held with (the difficult to play with) Ramsey in midfield for a stretch when we were deprived of some of our bigger guns and they presided over wins against City and away at Olympiakos in a high pressure match. In fact it was when the likes of Alexis returned that we dried up in goals that season. Ramsey decided to go more advance leaving gaps with the aging… Read more »

Ya gooner

But it’s still interesting how le coq managed to steady our midfield despite being ‘average’. He would be rotating with torriera, above elneny. Lets not forget he is starting for a champions league team still.

Copelandao

Red Star Belgrade are a “champions league” team. Doesn’t mean everyone in their team is good enough to play for us. I’ve wondered what it is about Torreira that makes him better than le Coq, as the man could pass, tackle and even dribble a little. I think the answer is that he is better in many areas – the crispness of the short passes, the first thought to go forwards, shielding the ball and being so well positioned so as not to need to make so many dramatic sliding tackles. I remember Xhaka-Coq being tried, and it being 1… Read more »

Lord Bendnter

Yes, I agree. And he’d definitely be above ElNeny in that position. But, he would never replace Torreira in the starting eleven. He could play the smaller cup games or fill in for an injured Torreira.

santori

Elneny is an average player. We need to sell him.

Bob

Coquelin was never technically at the level he needed to be, Torreira is great defensively but his distribution is miles better than Coquelin

santori

Torreira is effectively replacing to some extent what Santi gave us. But the little Spaniard was better in the sense he could play with both feet and twinkle toe his way out of danger and carry the ball forward. We still do not have a player who can do that. The other issue with Torreira is his height. Its not something he can help and he challenges for headers well but its there to exploit with the likes of Fellaini tactics. This is where someone like Diaby comes in. I remember Abou brought on to keep (then Everton) Fellaini quiet.… Read more »

Robert Pires : Director of Football@ Arsenal

I tweeted to blogs about how I can up/down vote a comment multiple times instead of just once and didn’t got a response. Hopefully they’ll notice here and fix it otherwise might as well remove the up vote thing as anyone who doesn’t like someone’s opinion can downvote it and it gives a cloudy perspective of that comment

Benriz

I just voted for both of these twice to test it. It let me vote twice for each comment.

Dennis Elbow

It just let me do it as well.

Theenge

If you exit the browser then you come back later, you can still up-vote or down-vote the same comment

Irrational Gunner

Same here. Safari browser if that helps.

Fergal

Only one vote counted. I was able to up vote, then down vote. I changed tabs and did the same. 2 votes in a row you get the “already voted” comment. I could vote when I left the tab and came back. But the end result was still just one vote counted.

A Different George

I upvoted and then got the “you already voted” message when I tried again. However, I was able to then add a downvote. Don’t actually know if this is new, because I never tried to vote up and down on the same comment before.

SA Fan

This was my experience too although I’ll add the following after testing.

1. Click upvote. Vote registered.
2. Click upvote again. Message says you already voted.
3. Click downvote. Subtracts 1 from positive vote and makes no change to number of downvotes.
4. Click downvote again. Increments number of downvotes by one.
5. Reverse is true if starting with downvote first.

All in all that would appear to be logical to me. I haven’t tested changing tabs, closing browser and revising a vote on the same comment or using multiple devices.

PeteyB

narp

cygan'sbaldspot

Xhaka is so under appreciated. Can’t remember him ever missing a game through injury and we really missed him when he went LB.

Reidar

He’s getting better. I’m very happy to be proven wrong that he wasn’t good enough, but that doesn’t mean me and others were wrong on his performances earlier.

Irrational Gunner

Yes, around this time last year, dare I say, there were lynch mobs forming for this guy! All of his weaknesses were glaring. Then sometime around the beginning of spring, the light bulb on, the epiphany happened, or Wenger had a long talk..(blah blah blah) and Xhaka started to play at a much improved level. Now with Torreira, he has found the running mate to help open up his game even more. I like that he seems to be more confident in his play, and he looks to be enjoying himself. Some guys just take longer to get used to… Read more »

Magneto

I agree that Xhaka is under appreciated, and a big part of that is simply because he plays for the Arsenal. If he played for another team, plenty of people would be demanding that we sign him asap.

C’est la vie.

santori

People like to trumpet Torreira who is excellent.

BUT they are blind to the way Granit has not only improved but is making this team tick.

sanku

a 3rd 4th finish above tottenham and ManU could be a good end to first season without wenger..

yen

Read “winger” instead of “Wenger” and it still made sense somehow.

santori

I think we can go as high as second.

The gap to City may be a bit of an ask at the moment, they are on a different level.

But there is absolutely nothing to suggest that Liverpool are any better than us (nor Chelsea).

…unless of course you are a media pundit.

Oozil

Lichtsteiner’s reaction after our goal was priceless. Water bottle in one hand. Gesticulating with the other. At the edge of the touch line with emery behind him. Reminded me of Rosicky

Nikhil

Even I had noticed that and found it to be cool. Team spirit is on a definite high 🙂

santori

Lichsteiner if anything is a positive effect on Xhaka as a fellow Swiss teammate and an older head to help advise him better.

In similar vein, I’m sure Sokratis has function for Mustafi as well but of course also the younger players in Holding and his fellow Greek Mavropanos.

These sort of relations in the team are not entirely by coincidence.

Tim Miller

I definitely agree that we have top 4 potential. However, this year the PL is ruthless, to the point where you can’t consider a draw at Palace as an OK result, even if you’ve played 3 games in 7 days and you have an emergency at left-back. The other “top” teams have been winning all the games they’re expected to win lately. A misstep and you’re in fifth place. I really hope we keep improving and that the hard work will pay off in the north London derby and agains ManU. We need points against these teams (so far we… Read more »

PeteyB

I do feel that at some point reality will come to bite Spuds. They are doing better than I expected but still they’re only an injury or two away from a crisis.

Irrational Gunner

Agree. I have a thought that managers like Poch and Klopp play their teams at such a high intensity that they inevitable start to become burnt out and more injury prone. Don’t ask for alot of evidence, but it seems like Spurs have had Kane, Alle, and Alderwield sidelined at different times last year and this year. Also, sounds like Ericksen might have a chronic problem. The Pudians, don’t seem to have had that many injuries except to a really bad one to the Ox(hope he fully recovers from that), and Henderson continues to struggle with something on going.

santori

5 tackles/ 95 passes/118 touches leading the team on all these counts.

Plus the well timed and critical (sliding) tackle on Salah in the box.

and a number of times, he switched focus of attack for us.

Superb ball to release Auba in first half immediately following winning the ball back.

As much as some people would like to trumpet Torreira’s deserved impact, it would be extremely remiss not to mention how critical Granit’s function has been for the team.

santori

And…not only did we not lose but it was also the first time in a long while I actually felt positive when the fourth official raised the board up for 5 additional minutes. In the past, it would have been squeaky bum time but in this case, it was Liverpool who was hanging on with Klop looking stupidly dumbfounded. Instead the five minutes felt like an opportunity for us to nick it. We were in control of most of the match much against the grain conventional punditry. As Leno mentioned as well in his interview, we also seem to be… Read more »

Teryima Adi

Boom Xhakalaka!!! Watch that left foot.

WallyT

Love this for our very own legend @Alexscott. Combining being a fan with good punditry very well. Paul merson can learn a thing or two
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/amp/football/46044105?__twitter_impression=true

santori

Well some wax lyrical about Torreira deservedly so, worth watching Arsenal Player Adrian Clarke.

Granit was outstanding. He switches point of attack for us and transitions us very quickly.

They both go hand in hand but for me Granit MOTM hands down.

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