Xhaka: Let’s look forward

137

Granit Xhaka says the game at Anfield might have been different had Arsenal taken the chances they created in the first half.

The Gunners saw their unbeaten start to the season ended by Liverpool who stormed to a 3-0 advantage courtesy of Joel Matip’s header and a brace by Mohamed Salah.

While Unai Emery’s men did reduce the deficit via Lucas Torreira’s late strike, there was no questioning who were the better team on the day.

Reflecting on the result, Xhaka told Arsenal.com: “I think the second half [for them] was much better than the first half.

“We had a few chances in the first half to score one or two goals. If we’d have done that, it would have been a different game.

“We can speak a lot but we lost the game. We didn’t have a bad game in my opinion because we defended well and Liverpool didn’t have a lot of chances.

“We had shots as well but they’re a good team. Let’s look forward.

He added: “They have a good team, a great team of great players and it’s always difficult here.

“It’s not only for us, a lot of teams find it difficult when they come here. It’s one game and we’ve lost today but we have to be positive for the next few weeks.”

If there was a positive from the game, it’s that Nicolas Pepe looks like a very good signing with the capability to dovetail with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on the break. While Xhaka admits the duo are a class act, he made clear there are other players in the squad who can also step up.

“We have very good players, not only these two, all over the team,” he said.  “We can do something special this season but we have to work a lot to improve things. After, we will see at the end of the season.”

The Gunners have a week to regather before taking on Sp*rs in the North London derby. Having delivered a great performance in the same fixture last season, the Swiss is hopeful of another fun afternoon at the Emirates.

“We know how important it is for the fans, the club and for us,” he said.

“We have shown in the last few years that we can have very good games against them. Let’s start getting ready this week so we’re ready to play against Spurs.”

 

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HelderHughes
HelderHughes

…but pass sideways.

Reality check
Reality check

You can’t pass forward if there is no one to pass to, it ends up with the opponents, pretty basic..

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

Yeah, the deep lying midfielder never has players in front of him.

Reality check
Reality check

Not when you are defending deep and playing on the break and their is no movement or bodies in front. His only outlet were tightly marked Auba and Pepe, no wide players either. He still played 4 successful long balls and many many forward passes. Just check his range on Statzone compared to our other midfielders and you’ll get a pretty comprehensive answer..

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

You can make your own space. Ceballos funnily managed it fine last weekend when Xhaka didn’t play. Santi was the master. Even Willock is pretty darn good at it.

We’re always told Xhaka is such a great passer. That’s his strength. Let’s see it.

Tim
Tim

“Funnly”? He managed it fine last week against Burnley in a home game. Do you really think that’s a fair comparison?

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

No. “Funnily.”

Tim
Tim

Oh, so you’re the the guy that corrects other people’s spelling mistakes on a football forum. Really mate? How sad.

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

I do two things well. Making condescending comments on football forums and correcting spellings.

And I’m all out of spelling.

Mayor McCheese
Mayor McCheese

It’s so disheartening to see such disparaging comments of our players after a game against the European champions at their home ground. Are people really that unable to calibrate their expectations? Xhaka was not the problem. Give it up.

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

Alright, unclench. Just a bit of light humour given the title of the article.

Mayor McCheese
Mayor McCheese

I think you’ll find here and elsewhere that your light humor very much caters to the comments I’ve described.

HelderHughes
HelderHughes

*See response to Tim but reverse it*

HoldenontoArsenal
HoldenontoArsenal

Mayor, the calibration is, this is what I believe and I am correct. I think I understand why Emery made the choices and decisions he made. I do not think I understand all the reasons why he waited so long to change. Those types of wonderings spelled out and ripped to shreds here would have the same impacts on us as fans, or an even better understanding of the games. Discussing who, which individuals suck just weakens Arsenal and us as a fan base.

Goonshow
Goonshow

I do not think I understand the above comment in its entirety.

jay
jay

Pass backwards, to be more precise.

Website
Website

Let’s boo his every touch in the next match.

Drew
Drew

I hope that is a joke, if you are serious then you can go fuck yourself. Any so called supporter who boos our own players is a cunt in my opinion and just shouldn’t bother going to the game. Let someone who will support the team through thick and thin go to the game not create a poisonous atmosphere.

don't forget
don't forget

I think that’s the difference when your team becomes a world-wide brand. The people who were “born” with Arsenal feel like they have an obligation to support it through thick and thin as you state. But the people who “chose” Arsenal feel like Arsenal have the privilege of their support and if things don’t go how they want, then they will actively voice their displeasure. It comes with the territory of being an organization and brand worth billions. Imagine a sunday league club with fans that boo whenever a certain player who isn’t performing touch the ball. It wouldn’t be tolerated. However, for big clubs it’s really just part of world football.

Vonnie
Vonnie

A lot of the nastiest, most negative, hate-filled so-called fans are the ones who are “born Arsenal” and think they own the club, you sound like one of them.

Website
Website

Dear Drew, you can rest assured that it was a joke. Even a poke to some in this site that love to demonize our own players, as a footballer or as a person outside the pitch, even when thay are not playing.

Drew
Drew

Xhaka definitely wasn’t the problem yesterday. The formation was wrong from the start.

IamaGoober

I watched Xhaka really closely in this game, and to be fair he didn’t do anything wrong per se, but its what he could have done that really prevented us from being able to leave a mark on the game.

His inclusion in the side was clearly to give us a quick fire way of negating Liverpools high press by going long, by finding Pepe and Aubameyang over the top, which is totally fine. That’s fundamentally one of the ways how you beat a high pressing team. You either 1) play your way out. 2) rely on ball carriers to dribble their way out. Or 3) you go long.

And you can turn your nose up at the idea of going long, but for me, I think its a fucking smart idea going away to Anfield as an opening gambit. You do that for the first 60 minutes and see if you can nick a goal, and build from there.

But our major issue on the day was simply Xhaka wasn’t doing it anywhere near enough.

There were lots of moments especially in the first half where he had time to turn, and find Pepe or Aubameyang with a long ball, but opted he not to turn. Most likely because he was too afraid of turning and getting caught on the ball, which I understand. But ultimately that unwillingness to utilise the ball on the full or half turn meant he was constantly laying the ball backwards into one of our full backs or (centre backs) who were already under a lot of pressure from Liverpool pressing us super high.

In the first half it was mainly all down AMN channel as they were clearly targeting him due to his lack of experience. And in possession AMN was being far too casual early on (and throughout the game). So every time Xhaka would pop it back to him, we kept on conceding possession with poor passing, or it would somehow go out for a Liverpool throw, and it constantly allowed them to squeeze us in that far corner.

We really needed Xhaka to be brave on the ball early on, take responsibility away from AMN who was struggling, and start to dictate the game. He should’ve been taking the ball on the full and half turn whenever we were deep in our half, constantly looking for Pepe and Auba straight away with those long drives. It doesnt matter if he doesnt find them all the time, it just gives us away to bye-pass that Liverpool squeeze early on, and buys our defenders and midfielders valuble breathing space.

When Xhaka did actually do it, we caused them so many problems and we nearly scored a few times (and probably should have done).

So in principle I did like Emery’s idea — and it did nearly work. I just wish we had someone better than Xhaka who could’ve been firing those long balls all the fucking time, constantly forcing Liverpools full backs to get on their bikes and fuck off towards their own goal. Rather than being sat in AMN and Monreal’s laps constantly

Had we have done that, genuinely the result was there for us, and we might have taken all three points.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Emery’s tactics was wrong and this was proven by the result.
1) We are a team that loses possession a lot due to bad passes and bad positioning so playing from the back (always goalkeeper to left side) doesn’t make sense.
2) There were only a couple of cases where Liverpool allowed the space to get the ball to Pepe or Auba. You get such opportunities in any game without vacating the wings entirely. Pepe talking about his integration said him and Laca could find each other on the pitch with a simple look. This means playing Laca couldn’t have been a bad idea.
3) If Emery’s plan ends up being keeping Laca on the bench to play Pepe in a system of his then Laca will be interested in offers from other teams at the end of the season.

Goose
Goose

We didn’t set up to play out from the back. We played a 442 diamond which is pretty much nailed on a counterattacking formation. It’s not a possession based formation.

I know we lost — but I wouldn’t say Emery got his tactics wrong. Just the execution on the day wasn’t where it needed to be.

All the clear cut chances in the first half fell to us and we didn’t take them. And at Anfield away if don’t take your chances you will probably lose the game. And we did. But ultimately it took Liverpool to score from a corner kick. They didn’t score by ripping through us or by breaking us down.

We only conceded one goal from open play.

Goonshow
Goonshow

Incisive comment mate… and if I may pick on one particularly telling point you make:
‘too afraid of turning and getting caught on the ball’
Let’s keep perspective on the context of Xhaka’s position, purpose and role in our club… he walks in the bootprints of Rocky, Paul Davis, Mickey Thomas, Gilberto, Viera and most recently, our glorious Santi. Which moves me to ask just one question – and it is the only one that matters really: is he ANYWHERE near as good on the ball (besides being able to hoof it long with some accuracy) as any one of his forbears?
Because quick feet and/or the strength to hold it up for those first precious seconds, are essential tools of a modern deep mid – and no matter how you rate Xhaka… he simply does not have these crucial weapons in his armoury: the feet of a Santi; the strength of Pat; the smooth ghosting glide of Rocky.
I’m dismayed at justifications for his lack of skill which cite ‘he wasn’t the worst on the field… he was fine… he played OK’. He’s supposed to be the driveshaft that propels the entire team from the rear, for f….s sakes! ‘Fine’ ‘OK’ or ‘not the worst’… just how low have we dropped our expectations?

We need to be aiming upwards based on our where we’ve come from, not dumbing down based on where we fear we could end up.

Goonshow
Goonshow

Add to that Edu, Cesc, and poor tragic Abu – who even crocked was more incisive and dangerous than a fully fit Xhaka

Goonshow
Goonshow

Two words to add…
Santi + Cazorla – oh what might have been.

Gunner Comment
Gunner Comment

Xhaka cost more then Kante let that sink in. Xhaka os terrible just like Emery decision making I want both out.

Glasgow_Gooner
Glasgow_Gooner

Just say No ! to giving away silly free kicks.

Arsenalista
Arsenalista

Seriously should be a health warning to Arsenal players.

VAgooner
VAgooner

reading between the lines:

“our gameplan worked well for 40 minutes, but they adjusted better than we did at the half”

i mean, that’s how i saw it. so that’s the way i choose to interpret his comments.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Me I chose to interpret what Luiz and Xhaka said as:
“If the strikers have done their job, the game would have been different.”
What fans who say Mustafi always blame his errors on other players think of Luiz with:
“I pulled the shirt slightly to take his energy down. Players who have big size shirts can obtain PKs and referees are still struggling with VAR.”

VAgooner
VAgooner

Or maybe interpret as: “we left 40 acres of space on each side and invited the two best crossing fullbacks in the country to just ping us over and over.” that’s like asking a soldier to stand in a square and wait until the sniper gets his aim right

Kenya1Gooner
Kenya1Gooner

How many goals came from those crosses? Yes Liverpool overran us but apart from the corner kick on the 40th minute, what else did Liverpool do in first half? The game plan was to allow them possession and hit them on the break. And if we had scored from the two chances we had, I doubt if these negative people would be talking about Emery getting tactics wrong. Also, we were a bit unlucky to concede the penalty at the start of second half. IMO I believe the coach was spot-on with his tactics. It’s just that he couldn’t do anything about Auba and Pepe fluffing their chances, and that Luiz penalty. Stop blaming the man for once we stood toe to toe with Liverpool the entire first half.

Bertieme
Bertieme

Fair enough, we had chances but Liverpool make few mistakes and made adjustments, we make mistakes and even at half time at 1 nil the manager kept with the same formation. So rather than a gulf in class (which there is) let’s address the things we can.

Mayor McCheese
Mayor McCheese

Of course in hindsight it seems this way to you. But if we play well for 40 minutes in the first half (which we did) and then Emery makes changes at the half, we’d be blaming a loss on Emery’s changes, i.e., “why didn’t he keep things the same! It was working! Stupid Emery and his half-time changes!”

Emery can’t win either way with some people.

MrRiskTaker424

Totally agreed

Hantal
Hantal

I actually quite like Xhaka as a player but he lacks the speed of thought required for our play style, so it’s pretty weird he’s de facto captain

I AM ARSENAL
I AM ARSENAL

I like him too but building the team around him the last 2 or 3 seasons is why we are here. Lacks the speed of everything. I dont even need to bring up Vieira or Fabregas just remember what Santi and Diaby did at Anfield. Real quality Cms.

Bergkamp2Wright
Bergkamp2Wright

He’s just not good enough at this level, fine against mid to lower table teams. Add in the fact Emery throws him in for his first competitive game of the season away at Liverpool and the result was obviously going to be bad.

Reality check
Reality check

Didn’t he play against Newcastle?

Mesut O’Neill
Mesut O’Neill

Yep. But that wouldn’t help his narrative that it’s all on the manager.

Bergkamp2Wright
Bergkamp2Wright

I am indeed waiting to be proved wrong on the manager. If you think he’s good, fair enough.

Bergkamp2Wright
Bergkamp2Wright

So he did.

Cliff Bastin
Cliff Bastin

I don’t know why I torture myself but I tend to focus on Xhaka’s movement when we’re defending and he has this infuriating habit of jogging next to his marker but then letting them run away.

I AM ARSENAL
I AM ARSENAL

Throws his hands up alot to and shirks responsibility in that Mustafi way also. Got a great left foot though. If you give him acres of space and loads of time.

Cliff Bastin
Cliff Bastin

Exactly. Might as well wear a shirt that says “Me receiving the ball is the signal to press.”

N10
N10

Xhaka: I look forward to you leaving the club.

Clockendrider
Clockendrider

This.

Mintoes
Mintoes

There’s a decent footballer there but one that has to be carefully managed in the right formation to get the best of him every time. Imo, you need torreira next to him always else he’ll struggle in this team. I would not play guendouzi and Xhaka in the same starting XI. Bench guendouzi.

Goonshow
Goonshow

So you advocate benching the promising youngster to accommodate the failings of the seasoned pro who’s had more than enough time to perfect his skills?
I’d prefer a real deep mid with whom Guend could play and learn and grow… surely?

Arsenalista
Arsenalista

He says that in the last few years we have shown that we have very good games with them, what a plank! In the last few years we have had our worst run of games in decades against liverpool. We seem to get destroyed almost every time we play them lately, losing 3-1 was one of our better results at Anfield in recent memory. I think we could have a major upgrade on this bloke, he should be backup only, for every good game he has, he has 2 average or bad ones. At least our hardest game of the season is out of the way. Onwards and upwards!

btw
btw

No team has scored more goal against another team then pool v Arsenal over the last 7 matches

Goonshow
Goonshow

Where was Arsh when we needed him….

Dom47
Dom47

I agree, let’s look forward but without you.

Mentally Drained Gooner
Mentally Drained Gooner

Yes please do that from the bench!

Flash
Flash

…as I see: Xhaka is the new Mustafi. We always need somebody to put the blame on.
What about our Mustafi replacement today?
What about missing our chances?

Bergkamp2Wright
Bergkamp2Wright

A player that is consistently bad will always be targeted by the fans. Xhaka is not good enough, but the fact Emery insists on playing him despite that fact is more worrying.

Santori
Santori

Here are my take aways from the predictable mauling :

1) Formation – As soon as I saw the back 4, I knew we were going to struggle. I had mention before we should consider back 3 to add numbers around the box an extra eye for their runners into it but also play kolasinac and AMN as wing backs to counter their outlet which would be on the flanks from their fullbacks pushing wide. This is so obvious and nothing new.

…………………………..Auba…………………..Pepe……………………………….
…………………………………….Cebellos……………………………………………
Kolasinac……………………………………………………………………………AMN
……………………Granit…………………………Guendouzi…………………………
…………..Monreal……………….Sokratis……………….Chambers……………….
………………………………………Leno………………………………………………..

a) Play Sokratis as the final stop. Luiz was an accident (or two) waiting to happen, unless you were the sort who thought we bought well this summer and our troubles are over without Mustafi.

b) Monreal left side in tandem with Kolasinac. Chambers right side in tandem with AMN.

They are a very mobile team using the flanks to get in. We could have done with double cover at fullback/wingback. Also playing with wingbacks meant we could press them higher and keep them from coming up so often. The more we relinquich space and sat deep, the moreour chance of a calamitous mistake.

c) Cebellos was largely missing today. I felt he struggled bc his role was less defined and he ended up just tracking players left to right and right to left.

I would have preferred again two solud players holding just ahead of Sokratis and Cebellos given instruction (along with Pepe) to press their recylcer Fabinho.

2) Auba and Pepe – Understandably they are still early in relationship. They did some good things on the break and had 3 decent opportunities to punich Liverpool but we were nervous and not fully committed.

Plus I felt instructions were necessary to let the pair know to hunt in zones high up but when receiving on the counter to find each other better, not spread so wide.

Also one of them needed to come back deeper to collect the ball and harry the Liverpool DM.

Again, I’ve mentioned whilst Auba has the golden boot, he has also been wasteful on many occasions when we need to establish some (psychological) control on the game

3) Our build up from the back was deeply irritating. This whole deep play around our box tactic clearly at best predictable at worse an invitation (particularly with a lethal team like Liverpool adept at pressing high up) for calamity.

I don’t understand what Emery wants to achieve with this. Surely a better option you;d think would be to mix it up and get the ball going quicly before they got back into shape. Instead Leno waited till everything was settled and we started to play from the back again and again.

You don’t score goals from back there.

4) Also our passing needs to be WITH INTENT. We put too many insipid and meaningless passes to players near by that make no tactical advantage (Granit guilty…but not the only one)

We need to get that ball out to the flanks or to someone high up quickly and support that player.

Again bc we are in a flat four, I felt there was less security for the midfield to take those risk.

5) As mentioned I felt Unai got his tactics wholly wrong, but he failed to address them second half.

In fact, we may as well have had Wenger. He waited far too long to make any changes and when the changes were made, we had already fallen way behind.

Cambio cambio cambio por favor.

Deeply frustrating but predictable train wreck.

Have we really improved?

Did we really fix our defense with the band aid signing some would describe as Squillaci-esque Panic buy had it been Wenger?

Pull your heads out of the sand. We didn’t do all good in the transfer window. As mentioned some good but some neglected.

And an all too familiar tale beginning to take shape again.

War Chest
War Chest

We lost to the best team in Europe not Burnley. Get a grip.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

I agree with many of your arguments (mindless playing from the back, wing backs wrong tactics) but can you avoid always saying “As I mentioned before” and summarize your thoughts ?

Mike1
Mike1

I spoke with Santori when we finished last season, I spoke with him when we started pre-season and I spoke with him also two weeks ago saying maybe there was the possibility that he could stop posting the same message time and time again.
Despite intense coaching and overwhelming down votes, he keeps making the same mistakes: sliding in recklessly with assumptions and pointing and blaming other posters for their lack of understanding.

Twatsloch
Twatsloch

It’s what makes him so hard to move on to other clubs. Not even the various Spuds blogs our there want him. Even Burnley bloggers laughed and said fuck no.

Goonshow
Goonshow

Santa I’ve called you out many times on this forum but I do feel you’ve made a surprising number of incisive points above. But, as per the comments below, you do err to the pedantic too often.
Agree on the playing out from keeper obsession; agree on us passing for the sake of passing (what happened to taking a player on, ffs?); agree on making it less easy for Fabinho…
Understand you’re lonely now Alex has gone to Everton but you gotta work on your charisma to make new friends!

Kismayo
Kismayo

Apart from that stupid mistake Luiz was the best defender, look for the highlights closely, 3 to 4 clear goals he saved.
Stop attacking him and I am optimistic he will be starting 11 against tiny tots.

Mesut O’Neill
Mesut O’Neill

He was directly at fault for 2 goals. The ridiculous penalty & him hopping out of Mo 🥗 way for the third.

Santori
Santori

been there done that. Take the positives yeah yeah.

This whole play from the back build up of Emery’s looking predictable and decidedly dangerous not to mention stale.

Some people preferred to think it was all positive this summer.

I beg to differ.

We did somethings better than with Mslintat. BUT there were also negatives.

We’ve back loaded with some risk about 21m + every summer for Pepe and Saliba,

The later a teenager at a high cost on a very narrow band width of games and a risk at 27m.

BUT we failed to do the main job which was to bring in a solid Cback.

Instead we preferred to be distracted by Tierney (a good buy but not priority), Saliba and tried to extend an over the hill Koscielny. Frankly he did us a favour declining but we failed to do the right thing.

Instead a band aid some prefer not to mention in Luiz.

Instead they fantasized and made excuses as to why buying him was a great idea as they did for Squillacci.

Is he Mustafi in disguise? Nah he’s older.

Rubbish thinking by people who want to see what they want to see but ignore the obvious in front of them.

therein lies the danger. More delusions.

Upamecano but downalego
Upamecano but downalego

After writing one of your many ‘mic-drop’ manuscripts do you ever leave the room only to come back and find your keyboard has wrapped the mouse cable around it’s E, K, C and N keys?
When AI finally does take over, it’ll be coming after you for all this torture you put it, and us, through.

Reality check
Reality check

That put a smile on my face.. thanks

Goonshow
Goonshow

yeah – let’s run a seasonal award for the best Santa-retorts?

Mayor McCheese
Mayor McCheese

It’s surreal that Arsenal fans are dismissing Emery and this team after failing to beat…Liverpool at Anfield! Hahaha! What a joke.

War Chest
War Chest

The same deluded ones that expect us to beat Barca at home 3-0. There is such a thing as a good loss in sport.

Bleeding gums Murphy
Bleeding gums Murphy

Personally I’m dismissing emery because his away record is terrible. He didn’t win a single away game last season against top half opponents. His away form with Sevilla was also terrible. He is desperately trying to be some sort of genius tactician and I’m afraid he is out of depth at Arsenal. Would be great at mid table team.

Twatsloch
Twatsloch

There was a lot of chest thumping here before the game. We’d beaten two very average teams so the logic was that Liverpool were in for the hiding of the season. Those who called for more realistic expectations got slagged off and massively downvoted for not believing hard enough.

And here we are. A lot of broken hearts because we didn’t fuck the prom queen when we aren’t even in her circle of friends. Such entitlement!

bob
bob

No shame about losing to Liverpool at Anfield. The shame I see is in the approach, timid and fearful, and hopelessly naive tactically.

I can have pride if we play to our strengths and have a go at them but get beaten. Not so, if we set up with such a negative and inappropriate game plan which assentuates our weaknesses.

I think it’s totally fair to level critisism at the manager when he has done exactly that. That isn’t to say he should be sacked and everything should be burned down, more to call out a naive approach from what seems increasingly like a manager with a small team mindset.

Arsenal hire Erik Ten Hag!!...save the future!!
Arsenal hire Erik Ten Hag!!...save the future!!

“we don’t like playing Liverpool”
This was the statement our so called fearful coach said before an important match.. Wenger would never have said that.. no way!!!
one of the reasons moyes got the sack at man u is because he said man u are trying to reach the level of man city.. Can you believe that??? 🤔…a club far more successful than man city…… Wait until Emery says such a thing about Tottenham then you would understand why i have lost faith with Emery

Arsenal hire Erik Ten Hag!!...save the future!!
Arsenal hire Erik Ten Hag!!...save the future!!

You guys claim Emery needs to get quality players before judging him but forget that klopp and pochettino put down a marker even when they had their so called average players…they always went out gun blazing….i bet you even if we give Emery Ronaldo,Messi and Neymar…he would likely bench one of them in big important games.. The man is becoming a coward with his fearful approach…..even if we manage to enter the top four and win the Europa league i have lost faith in Emery…he is not what we need…Take it or leave it fellow arsenal fans!….. I don’t want a coward as a coach

Arsenal hire Erik Ten Hag!!...save the future!!
Arsenal hire Erik Ten Hag!!...save the future!!

We need a REAL PROTAGONIST not a fake protagonist
The talents of our crop of players shouldn’t be wasted
I’m an advocate of good free flowing and all gun blazing football and i would stand by it
Win,lose or draw Emery is not what we need
Wake up arsenal fans and smell the coffee,we shouldn’t give a blind support to this man before it becomes late.. There are far better coaches
We deserve better..we arsenal fans deserve good and better football..the world knows this!
We don’t have the right to win trophies constantly but we do have the right to enjoy good football

Get Erik Ten Hag!
He is a real protagonist that acts without fear win,lose or draw

Don Cazorleone
Don Cazorleone

Can everyone stop saying protaganist

Bergkamp2Wright
Bergkamp2Wright

I feel like by you saying “can everyone stop saying protagonist”, you are becoming a protagonist in the movement to stop saying protagonist

Reality check
Reality check

With protagonist he meant proactive tactics and he does it all the time. Fair enough

Don Cazorleone
Don Cazorleone

Making me the antagonist?

Twatsloch
Twatsloch

Only if I can be the agonist!

Goonshow
Goonshow

ouch… you’re all putting me in protagony!

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Who Erik Ten Hag?

Arsenal hire Erik Ten Hag!!...save the future!!
Arsenal hire Erik Ten Hag!!...save the future!!

A courageous coach Coura

Arsenal hire Erik Ten Hag!!...save the future!!
Arsenal hire Erik Ten Hag!!...save the future!!

A courageous Protagonist

Vonnie
Vonnie

Ajax

Comedian
Comedian

This is our club captain and I can’t imagine ever when I was so infuriated on a player being a captain. He is Mustafi of Midfield, I would even prefer Denilson over Xhaka. He is slow, most uncomfortable on the ball, breaks our counter attacks, jogs back when opponent is on the break, if not for his sideways pass he would have any stats (fuck you Stat Dna for bringing this guy to our club) and every game he would make a careless tackle or a pass. To pick him in the squad was one thing, to make him Club captain is just absurd.
The one thing I liked about yesterday’s game was except for that one Ceballos pass from the back was us insisting to play from the back even if it was against Liverpool, maybe that is what Emwry is trying to impose on the squad but you can’t have Xhaka like player if you wish to have a pressing game with lots of swift passes. I like AMN but his carelessness with the ball has started to irritate me. He was the weak link of the four when we decided to play out from the back and his mistakes were only his carelessness with the ball. Think Montreal had a good game yesterday and then the news us looking to sell him is just idiotic. He is such an underrated defender, he might have lost his pace but at least he knows how to defend.

Francesc
Francesc

Granit Lighthouse Xhaka – That’s his real name. Has been fooling us all along..

Xhaka out please.

Clockendrider
Clockendrider

Hopefully Dick will realise that you can’t play both Xhaka and Ceballos against fast moving teams. Being outmanoeuvred by the likes of Jordan Henderson in midfield is just embarrassing.

Bergkamp2Wright
Bergkamp2Wright

The team selection was a shambles.

Keith Comley
Keith Comley

Pepe, obviously early days, he an upgrade on iwobi, promising, however, it seems he is not experienced against good defenders. Receiving/going-to-get-the-ball, taking the ball under control is excellent, but he seems not to realise that by then another 2 defenders are on ya. Gervinho and Chamach (and to a lesser extent Giroud) arrived with good (very good) stats from the French league but were unable to deliver their potential against better defenders. Early days, but am optimistic and pessimistic in equal measure.

Reality check
Reality check

Early days, but he also had VVD on the ropes early on, completely rinsed Roberson 1-1 before he missed his chance. He’s a strong runner with the ball, quite well built for a winger, covers long distances very quickly. None of the players you mentioned could run 10 yards with the ball, even in the French league apart from may be Gervinho, who was good at making runs behind the defense but he was a head-down, instinctive dribbler, ran into cul-de-sacs quite a lot. His final ball and finishing were also terrible, would miss simple lay offs and crosses when clean through. Gervinho had big confidence issues and insecurities, much in the mould of Ozil but worse. Pepe is however a serious guy, can’t see any confidence issues with a guy who takes penalties for fun. Pepe will frustrate you here and there but the entertainment he will bring will be worth it, for me at least.

The Far Post
The Far Post

The quick outburst of negativity on here is amazing. Okay, Arsenal were set up to be more defensive away to Liverpool, than home against Burnley. That can hardly be a surprise. We have to admit that Arsenal have not been at their fluid finest for several years now. Pretty much Arsenal was set up to counter with long balls to speedy attackers.

The midfield trio so rightly lauded in the previous match, and many people were hoping would start? They did start, although little wonder they were not as effective yesterday. It was the same four at the back, while many were thinking a more conservative back three. Emery made one change: putting in Xhaka for Lacazette, which was the big call to face the press and the front three of Liverpool.

A couple of wins against easier opponents does not mean that things can suddenly change, but progress is there. Give it time.

Goonereality
Goonereality

Yes, I agree. Expectations, understandably, were just too high going into the game (fueled by some rather silly comments by a few players). Inevitably, the opposite reaction has set in after the defeat.

We need to be realistic and acknowledge that the team is very much work in progress and we won’t get an idea of prospects until at least Christmas.

PTAFC

Don’t know what type of midfielder Xhaka is! He’s big but not powerful, no pace, gives the ball away to often. He’s not suited to the premiership at all. He would not improve any team in the top flight let alone a top 6 club. Be better off back in Germany or Italy. Don’t rate him at all. Poor team selection and tactics from Emery yesterday

Goonshow
Goonshow

On that note… which top 6 PL club would even have Xhaka in the match day 11?

Comedian
Comedian

I am now sure there exists an alternate Universe where Xhaka is the complete football player. Sadly the one i live in he is pretty useless.

ozilian
ozilian

Join the discussion…nobody is talking about willock being started in this kind of high intesity game…
nd he played 80 mins….with torreira on the bench…
he should not start against Tottenham….pls emery

Goonereality
Goonereality

I think Willock did pretty well overall, albeit shaky at times.

You make an interesting point. In Wenger’s day, we tended always to put out the best XI and often came unstuck when we had to make changes because the replacements weren’t really that good. Emery is sticking to his word to give youngsters a chance (even in big games as Willock shows). It may cost us short-term, but are there more benefits later in a more experienced, “tested” squad?

OdalGooner
OdalGooner

Only time will tell, but I’m hoping that’s the case.

canon fodder
canon fodder

We tend to criticise Ozil a lot but he would have been able to pin a couple of defence splitting passes into the path of our forwards.

Mouise
Mouise

Yes, but UE has decided to take his selection according to the fans and media’s thinking. So no Özil, Musti to leave, Willock and Dani £15M a year ceballos in.

Goonereality
Goonereality

We do criticise him – and with good reason. The truth is that he doesn’t usually perform well in big games, and big away games particularly because he rarely travels.

We’ll never know now but I doubt he would have made much difference at Anfield yesterday. With Ozil, the reality hardly ever matches the potential, does it.

Goonereality
Goonereality

Of course we should look forward, but we must take on board lessons from this defeat.
1) You only get a few chances against top sides, so don’t waste them. With better finishing we could have got an earlier goal yesterday.
2) Everyone makes mistakes, but we are entitled to expect more from experienced players in particular, such as Luiz on this occasion, particularly against top sides when there may not be many opportunities to comeback.
3) Optimism and confidence are fine, but talking a good game beforehand and actually playing it are two very different things. Example:”GUENDOUZI: WE CAN BEAT ANY PREMIER LEAGUE SIDE”, looks a little hollow now. Make the statements “on the pitch”, as they say.

chopper4001
chopper4001

Football is a game of small margins. Yes, we looked overrun at times in the first half but if Pepe scores and Matip doesn’t, and we go into HT one to the good, then it allows Emery to change tactics in the second, bringing on Lacazette so that we move to having wingers and being more solid. That then looks like a tactical masterclass.

The fact that we didn’t change tactics at HT (either because of the scoreline or something else) is the main worry, because it was clear it wasn’t sustainable and was only going to give us more and more problems as the game went on.

Then Luiz has his brain fart and everything gets thrown out the window anyway.

I’ve never really been a fan, as I’ve said on here before, but had been persuaded by the optimism on here and some Chelsea friends that he was a solid defender. Having his first stinker 3 games in doesn’t bode well to be honest.

Vonnie
Vonnie

A good manager sets up his team to maximise his players strengths, Emery obsesses over the opposition and then forces the players into the tactics he devises. When your strength is your attack you shouldn’t be leaving Laca on the bench, he gives opposition defenders a hard time and helps bring his teammates into the game. When your defence isn’t your strength it is pretty stupid to leave them under siege and bombarded with crosses and then complain when someone makes a mistake. I think Emery is out of his depth, is a mid-table manager and even if the players get us to top 4 he should go. Also Xkaka is an excellent player for games when we can play further up the pitch and he has a bit more time and space, because then he can dictate the play brilliantly, but the manager sets him up to fail in a game when he’s being pressed and there’s no movement and no-one to pass to. Emery needs to use players strong points, not shoehorn them into formations that don’t suit them, we have more depth this season and there’s no excuse any more.

Reality check
Reality check

Vonnie
Thanks mate.. this is the only measured and objective criticism of Xhaka and Emery I’ve read since the team sheet came out. He wanted to isolate their defenders by inviting their full backs to attack our flanks, so that Auba and Pepe have space to run at them. The tactic almost worked untill our defense fell apart. Not really surprised as we were playing with only one potential 1st team defender, against CL winners who boost not one but two golden boot winners.

Goonshow
Goonshow

Fair comment – but sometimes ‘shoehorning’ a player into a different position shows the manager sees something the player doesn’t even know he has?
I cast my mind back to an average winger Arsene bought off Monaco for a song…

Bergkamp2Wright
Bergkamp2Wright

Who else is enjoying the “play out from the back no matter what” tactic?

George
George

Haha, I get what we’re trying to do, but, no, I wouldn’t say I enjoy the sheer frequency of our efforts!

goonero
goonero

You can’t play out from the back if you don’t have technically proficient midfielders who can play in tight spaces.

Why you would try playing out from the back with Granit Xhaka is a questionable decision.

Goonshow
Goonshow

Woulda love to see it in action when we still had Santi….

Me2
Me2

Arsenal will never compete with players like Xhaka holding them back.
He is not even good enough to be a squad player because you know that when asked to step up he would fuck up.
This season is going to be like the one before that and the one before that – it is following exactly the same patterns – a few wins against the straggling teams and then utterly humiliated when playing the likes of Liverpool – it should have been seven yesterday. After that you then get idiots like Xhaka telling us to look forward – forward to what? Luiz giving away silly penalties or Xhaka himself giving the ball away in midfield because he has no brain and no awareness.
Same shit different season – don’t be fooled….

Mick Malthouse
Mick Malthouse

He epitomises the acceptance of mediocrity.

Goonshow
Goonshow

From Alex James and Armstrong… through Brady, Rocastle, Davis, Thomas, Vieira, Edu, Gilberto, Parlour, Petit, Cesc and Santi… to Xhaka.

Interesting that the final one alliterates with ‘shame’?

Dimma
Dimma

Lets be honest we aren’t anywhere near Liverpools level at the moment. We simply lost because the other team is better than us. There are positives from the match like at least everyone put a shift in and we didn’t embarrass ourselves like we usually do against top 6 teams away. I don’t think xhaka really contributes a lot to the team. He doesn’t seem to offer anything going forward or in defence. I like to call him the walking yellow card as he always seems to get one for a needless challenge. Anyway there’s no shame to lose 3-1 at Anfield to this Liverpool team and im still really excited for the rest of the season.

Goonereality
Goonereality

The truth is that, before the match, we never were “near” Liverpool. A few Gooners were getting carried away on this site with the perceived success of the Summer transfer window and the wins in the opening games. It didn’t help that some players also made, in retrospect, some rather silly comments, “we can beat anyone … ” etc. If only saying it made it happen we’d have all the points yesterday!

We’ve a terrible record against the top six teams away, and it’s pretty bad at The Emirates as well. The fact that the defeat at Liverpool wasn’t the embarrassment it was last season is a little consolation, but not that much really. We won’t truly compete until we can hold our own there. So, there’s a lot of work still to be done and it will take quite a while.

I think the future looks bright, but none of us know for sure. We’ll all have to be patient and give Emery and the players a proper chance to show what they can do. Unfortunately, if they can’t do the job then there will have to be further changes. We can’t afford the “drift” of the latter Wenger years all over again.

Wolfgang
Wolfgang

I still think we need a massive mdf.Lucas maybe aterrier but against a mastiff he is
rolled over easily as we have seen in previous games.
Thanks to Wenger who loaded the team with midgets to imitate Barca,Arsenal
have slipped the last 5 years.
Hopefully Emery can get Arsenal going.I was consoled that CP beat Mu in the
dying minutes of the game which rf used todo. Some karma

Jay
Jay

There

Jay
Jay

There was no way in the world we were going to win that game. Sometimes you just have to say the best team won. But on the positive side we do look like we are improving. If I have to have one moan , and I will lol. I would criticise the manager for his team selection and his substitutions. But overall I think we are a team on the rise. Pepe is looking like a real player

Fuhgedaboudit
Fuhgedaboudit

Imo Liiz had a horrible game. Letting Salah “walk” around him and go in and score was pathetic, pulling on the shirt in the box was ridiculous. Anybody want to guess why Lampard didn’t want him at Chelsea? I just don’t know why Emery didn’t start Chambers next to Sokratis. He may not be flashy, but when he plays in the CB position he is steady. Chambers weakness is in the fullback position because of his pace. I sure as hell hope we see Chambers next week against Tottenham and not Luiz.

Goonereality
Goonereality

Luiz was certainly poor on a couple of vital occasions. Even the best make mistakes, but the type of errors he made aren’t really acceptable for an experienced defender like him. That said, it’s early days so we can’t really condemn him yet. However, Emery may give Chambers a run out against Spu*s as he does seem to be sticking by his intention to give younger players a go.

Kenya1Gooner
Kenya1Gooner

On the second goal he couldn’t do anything coz he was on a yellow. I’d rather we concede than lose a man. On the penalty, he says he instinctively touched Salah, who was never affected as he continued his run. So don’t make too much of it.

Tanned arse
Tanned arse

I really want us to move passed xhaka now. He’s a very good passer but for me he stiflesthe potential we have to play a far more dynamic and quicker game. Those other guys in midfield really compliment each other in terms of moving and driving that ball quickly in a way that’s hard to read because they’re far more adept at moving off the ball and creating new pictures in an instant. Also, for all his supposed experience he still doesn’t have an instinct for closing out passing lanes, for someone who generally sits deep when defending. His experience really does add any more know how than when guendouzi plays there. I’m not basing the guy, I just think guendouzi’s presence is far more beneficial back there and playing both leads us to being bogged back in our own half

Maybe Someday
Maybe Someday

He is too lefty, it’s like he really can’t kick the ball with his right foot even for a simple pass. Those seconds when he try to change his pivot to right foot, the opponents could close the gap with him. Tbf our mid is outplayed by Liverpool, no ones in the mid who played good, they’re all too afraid to get the ball and make plays.

Ex-Priest Tobin
Ex-Priest Tobin

Unai “Tinker Man” Emery is starting to frustrate. Enough with the reactionary tactics, let’s just see our best and most promising players start in the big matches. That means Laca starts every match, and “Mr Limited” Xhaka stays on the bench.

Worryingly it seems also that Unai agreed with Luiz that the shirt pull wasn’t enough for a penalty! That raises serious concerns about Emery’s defensive nous and how it is being transmitted to the team through his coaching.

Let’s hope Tinker Man can do enough to get us top four and then we can look for a real top coach to take us forward.

Public Elneny
Public Elneny

We must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling toward freedom!

HoldenontoArsenal
HoldenontoArsenal

Arsenal, where art thou Arsenal? Arsenal is in a transition, get it? New manager, new lots of things. Emery got it wrong yesterday. This does not mean his overall philosophy is wrong, he just got it wrong against one of the top 3 teams in the world and that WILL ALSO happen to some other great teams and players. All I can literally promise you is this…Arsenal fans and media will get some hard working, thoroughly committed player or coach insulted, demeaned and fired before we redefine ourselves as contenders…probably a whole bunch of times. That is where our Arsenal is.

Goonereality
Goonereality

Yes. It took several years of drift under Wenger to get us where we are (or were last season) and despite the encouraging activity in the Summer window it isn’t going to take a few matches to get it right. Hopefully, the result from Anfield will put things into perspective, quickly.

That said, the main problem I see is if we don’t get a top for finish this season, which is obviously the top priority. I know we all hope we do, but two of the other “top 6” teams have to fail for us to do that. Although possible, even probable in some circumstances, it’s not certain. Emery may not survive that scenario, and that could put us back to Square Two or Three, if not Square One.

Viv
Viv

Should have played with three central defenders at the back,force them wide

Thegrandchemist
Thegrandchemist

Good to know Tottenham Hotspur lost at home today! 😆

btw
btw

I was getting depressed reading the comments here then popped over to the bbc and saw that spuds lost to the magpies, at home. I suddenly feel so much better, laughing my ass off, as they say.

Canador
Canador

The greatest mistake Emery will make is to make Xhaka captain of Arsenal FC. He doesn’t deserve it, doesn’t have the capacity and he is one of the weak links in the team.

Geoff
Geoff

lets look forward to you being on the bench more