Xhaka: Arsenal captaincy would be a dream


Granit Xhaka spoke to the Swiss press following our 1-0 win over Newcastle at the weekend. Our thanks to Arseblog News reader Florian Schneider for translating it for us.

This is what he had to say.

A 1-0 win with Arsenal in the first game of the season against Newcastle – how happy are you?

I’m very pleased with the three points. Away from home at Newcastle, that’s not easy. But we were very solid. This good start gives us confidence and hope for the next weeks.

How big was your anticipation for the new season? Or would you rather have had a longer break?

I have a great appetite for football again! I could recover wonderfully on holiday. Besides, the team were training very well, we could prepare ideally for the start of the season. I often thought: ‘Finally, soon it will kick off again!’

Now you could even lead Arsenal as captain. What does it mean to you?

It’s a dream I have always worked towards. It’s a recognition of my performances for the club, on the other side of course a special responsibility as well for me as a person – after all I follow club legends like Patrick Vieira or Thierry Henry.

Other than a lot of coaches Unai Emery nominates some sort of captain group, containing of five players. How does it work exactly?

At the moment we are just three players in this captain team, besides me it’s Mesut Ozil and Nacho Monreal. We lead the team together. At the moment I am quasi ‘Captain Number 1’. The armband only changes through injuries, suspensions or other absences.

How big is the disappointment about the 1:4 in the Europa League final against Chelsea still?

The defeat still hurts me, you don‘t discard it just like that. For me the final has been the highlight of my career so far. So it still hurts even after weeks not to have won the title.

What gives you the confidence that Arsenal will finish higher than 5th place in the Premier League at the end of this season?

We were very close to the top last season, but unfortunately we unnecessarily dropped points against supposed weaker teams too often. These supposed mandatory points we have to get better at now. If we can do that and get the odd big point, we will be successful in the race for the Champions League places, therefore finish at least 4th – or maybe even be able to leap to the very top.

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I can see Xhaka as club captain largely because we don’t really have any good options at this point. The main issue is in reality we don’t have a current captain who is an automatic starter in our best 11 – Monreal doesn’t play if Tierney is fit, Ozil likely doesn’t start if we want to play a 4-3-3 & it’s not clear that Xhaka starts over Gendouzi/Torriera/Wilcox as the season goes on. We probably need to think about Leno or Auba as those are 2 of the only guaranteed starters at this point.


Papa would start every game if fit but he has such a short history with the club.

Would love to see Holding take over a starting spot and captain the side, he atleast looks captain-material with no obvious weaknesses and a strong mentality.


I like Holding and really hope he capitalizes on his potential, but he has a very difficult road to starting as he’s coming back from a significant injury and has to beat out Luiz (automatic starter if fit), Papa, Chambers & Salibas (next year). He really hasn’t played enough games to even be considered a captain at this point.

Dave M

I think we’re just all so desperate for a solid, reliable, long-term captain that we turn to someone like Holding already. I mean AMN and Willock have briefly crossed my mind too! Maybe Tierny is the guy…lol!?

But jeez we’ve been struggling for a captain and prime leader type for a long, long time now.


Wilcox? Toyah? It’s a mystery.


Shot in the dark…




Lacazette seems a great choice to me.


I think you mean Willock. Why do you doubt that Xhaka won’t start most games?


As the season goes on I suspect that we’ll play a 4-3-3 with Ceballos as the more offensive midfielder with 2 hard working / defensive types along side. I like Xhaka and his passing is terrific – but’s really not suited to a high intensity / covering a lot of ground game that the midfield likely will need to play in that system.


With the players we have now we can use Liverpool’s blueprint for success, so I’m inclined to agree with atom that 433 is the best way forward.

Whether Emery feels the same way is a different matter.


It’s been pretty handy for City as well ;). I think it would also get the best out of front 3, allowing Auba and Pepe to get closer to goal knowing they have CMs covering them.


“Monreal doesn’t play if Tierney is fit” – on what authority can you make such a claim? A young talented Scot that has never played in the PL with all respect to the Scottish PL. Do you base this on the highly edited scout videos available on YouTube or do you have some insider knowledge?


He’s the better player, it’s as simple as that

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Without a good option for captain
, it has to be the goalkeeper or the best or most valuable player (Auba for his goals).


Is it worrying that our captain just said we aim for only the ‘odd big point’?
*Awkward chuckle*


He said add the odd big point, considering we did quite well against the top four last season I think he means turning defeats against Liverpool and City into draws would be an improvement.


Makes sense, Drew.

To be fair, the general tone doesn’t seem negative. And also, its a translation from another language which may lead to misunderstanding.
It seems like I over-reacted.


Our best player in the final, and we saw what the team lacks without him. Hopefully with a better midfield this season we’ll see the best of Xhaka.


Vieira, Henry…Xhaka. Find the intruder




It must be Xhaka as he is not French like the other two

Mayor McCheese

Henry. He was a terrible captain.


Started the captain’s curse didn’t he

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Mayor, about Henry as a terrible captain, that was a lie. You know about leadership by example? Coming early to training, leaving late, no nightclub, only performance, expecting only the very best from your peers ?

Paul Roberts

It is such a privilege to have seen Vieira captaining the Arsenal. What wonderful times!



A Different George

This is not a criticism of Xhaka, since everyone, especially pundits does it–you take an old story that might (might) have once been true and repeat it as if it were still the case, no matter that it is not supported by facts. So, it’s hard to go to Newcastle and beat them. Well no, they were crap at home through most of last season. Or the terribly intimidating atmosphere at Selhurst Park. Well no, Palace were much better away than at home last season. And my favourite is hearing how Arsenal are so poor defending corners–said at a moment… Read more »


But I think it’s more to do with a longer history than just last season. Newcastle at home have always been strong against the big boys and I recollect them beating City, Chelsea(more than once), United, etc but play pisspoor against crap teams. Palace has a similar story – we have lost more than once and they up their game at home for some reason – atmosphere is usually meh though. And let’s not get started on Arsenal and the set pieces, yes we have improved but that’s been our undoing before. Though I don’t recall anyone calling out as… Read more »

A Different George

I think you are doing what I was complaining about. It is stupid for a commentator to say “Real Madrid is dangerous on free kicks” if all he means is that Cristiano Ronaldo, who used to play there, was brilliant on free kicks.


Well, your point would stand only if he meant Real were dangerous because of Cristiano. But what if he actually meant because they had the deadliest of headers such as Ramos, Varane and Ronaldo? And just because Cristiano moves and they sign, say Giroud, you would expect them to go blunt but Real will continue to be equally dangerous. So, it was just your take that the whole narrative was driven by Cristaino’s presence but the reality of the opinion could be far from it. The statistics should back up the claim over a few seasons for a tag to… Read more »

Johnny 4 hats

You could at least be sly about massaging the likes George.


‘its a recognition of my performances for the club’. This just isn’t true. Again, I hope this doesn’t come across as overly critical. But his performances remind me of Theo’s consistency in patches quote. If you’re made captain it’ll be because of a dearth of other options. And the fact that you’re a solid enough, experienced international. If he is made captain his performances need to improve, not plateau.


To be honest, Henry with all his skills, was no captain material either. It was more out of no-choice that he was made captain by Arsene. And Thierry was never going to play under anyone.

Vieira on the other hand though….
(Cesc was good until he decided to move but we didn’t build a team for him to win anything meaningful)
As long as Xhaka doesn’t become a liability due to his captaincy, I am willing to bide the time until Holding is ready to take up the mantle.

Naked Cygan

Not ready to be capitan yet. He gives the ball away too much near our penalty area. Not vocal with players. Lacks the presence that players like Tony Adams. But we don’t have many options. Sokratis is a better choice if I had to pick one.

Rob Griffin

I think he could be ok as skipper but hes gotta stop giving the ball away unneccesarily


I believe he will make a good captain and imo, he starts when all our players are fit.
Can we do better than Xhaka? Definitely yes but, a good team is not exclusively dependent on the talents of individual players but how well they work together.
I see Xhaka starting for us for atleast 2 more seasons.

Bodie CI5

Be nice to have holding as main club captain, shouting out from the back if need be

Martin L. E.

Sokratis for captain.
More suited than Granit, in my opinion.


Given his very poor disciplinary record, how long would we get the benefit of Sokratis as a captain though? The important thing, surely, is that the captain needs to be on the pitch – can we be sure Sokratis will have the necessary self-discipline? After all, he got sent off in a pre-season friendly for goodness sake!


And your point is to counter the Sokratis argument of discipline with Xhaka? Lol


Maybe Xhaka the man has captain qualities that fans aren’t privy to the, but the footballer barely has qualities to play for any top 4 side, and anyone can see that. Says a lot about how much work still needs to be done in the squad that not only is a player of his calibre in the discussion, he’s probably right at the fucking top of it. I’ll begrudgingly accept if it comes to it (he says as if he has an actual say in the matter) but I hope to fuck it’s transitory, I still want him sold or… Read more »


Glad you are not our manager. Selling one of our key players will weaken the team

Anders Limpar

A squad player at very most.


The fact he’s a key player is the issue, he’s not good enough to be so relied upon by a team with top 4 aspirations.

You won’t find a player as limited and error prone as him regularly starting in central midfield for any other top European side, but at Arsenal he’s a key player, that’s a problem. He’s a weak link and if not for people like Mustafi, Kolasinac and Mhkitaryan and post contract Ozil, he’d be the most glaring one over these last few seasons.

Thierry Bergkamp

We don’t have that character to pull the team together when times get tough. If it was my choice, I’d give it to Lacazette. Potential captain a few years down the line could be Leno and possibly Holding.


I mean the real story here is that Florian Schneider is an Arsenal fan. How cool is that?

Mayor McCheese

He joins an impressive list!


I wish Piers Morgan wasn’t on the list, mind.

Mayor McCheese

The Craig Ferguson Christmas Kraftwerk bits are hilarious.

“Ah, a fruitcake! I will use it to hit myself until I achieve climax.”



Well, he’s a possibility I guess – just as long as Emery settles on one captain and a vice captain, like everyone else does as far as I know. The sooner we drop this daft “5 captains” nonsense the better.


To be honest is a natural leader and at the moment we don’t have many of those, if it was me my five Captain would be Holding, Bellerin, Sokratis, Xhaka and Lacazette all of whom are vocal enough towards any unfairness on the pitch and have a very big influence in the current squad and there among our best first eleven.


I know people don’t always appreciate Xhaka but he’s the best candidate for the role this season. He will play the majority of the games, he’s been a captain at a very young age at Gladbach and for Switzerland (people obviously see something in him) and he is one of the most experienced members of our squad. He’s a serious character and we should give him a chance.


A single goal now leads these fans of rival football clubs: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/a-single-goal-now-leads-these-fans-of-rival-football-clubs/article29095570.ece

I am sorry to share this unrelated story on this post, but with optimism and faith in humanity in short supply, I thought this is a worthy candidate for breaking the rule of not posting unrelated stuff on a thread.
Its a few fans of European club football coming together to help out flood victims in Kerala, India.

La Défense

Dislike if you also think the new arseblog news layout on mobile is shite. Whatever the hell is wrong with a nice simple list ordered by the latest posts?


He’s a much better player with better ability to receive the ball these days and better tackling. AGAIN people (like Mustafi) tend to amplify(look only for) his faults and ignore the good things he brings in a match. There is VERY good reason why he started ahead of Torreira last season. Against Newcastle, he put in a fantastic ball over the top inch perfect to release Monreal who subsequently found Mhkitaryan in front of goal only for the Armenian to scuff it. And then later it was a superb ball from deep right to Auba. But he also put in… Read more »


He’s a luxury player, and we certainly shouldn’t be playing him at the same time as Ozil. It’s one or the other for me… Or in big games, neither.

Arsenala Vista Baby

1. Xhaka
2. Monreal
3. Ozil
4. Lacazette
5. Aubameyang



If a few years I see Guendouzi as the captain. I think he’s got that something.

Idrese Manning

Xhaka the Mustafi of the midfield great choice for captain. Bet he cost Arsenal several wins this year. I lost track of how many times he gave the ball away against Newcastle, can’t wait to see his performances against the top 4.