Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Emery: Xhaka is very important for us

Unai Emery has stressed how important he feels Granit Xhaka is to Arsenal, citing his character and the fact he gives the team midfield balance.

The Swiss international is in the spotlight after conceding a ridiculous penalty in the North London derby, but while acknowledging the error the manager believes it’s better to focus on the positive, and says that every player makes mistakes.

Ahead of Sunday’s Premier League encounter with Watford, Emery said of his potential captain, “He gives us very good balance in the middle with the ball and without the ball.

“He’s very important for us. We can talk about the defects of any player, for him too, but we can speak about the very positive performances he gives us in most matches.”

And on the penalty he gave away against Sp*rs – not the first in his Arsenal career by a long way – Emery continued, “We were speaking this morning. Recognise that mistake, learn, correct it, improve and repeat with success.

“We could speak about every player’s mistakes in every training session and each match.

“Only, some mistakes can be ‘big picture’ because the consequence is more. But really we can’t have more mistakes like that after they score a goal against us or if we haven’t scored.

“But I am focused on the good things, on the positives. Xhaka has a big character and he’s very important for us.”

The 26 year old will likely start today against Watford, and it’s fair to say he owes his manager a performance after that kind of backing.

Let’s hope he delivers it.

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Forest gooner

Does Xhaka know any dark secrets of UE?

Pedantic person

Why not write Emery. Bloody acronyms


It’s so strange with him. He was captain at Gladbach, he was untouchable under Wenger, he’s untouchable under Emery and hes the captain of the Swiss national team, although I’ve seen him having these brain farts for all of this sides. He must offer something that we’re all not seeing. And it has to be more than his passing. That’s by far not that exceptional that it makes up for all his obvious flaws. Strange, strange player he is.


Xhaka has quite a lot of “defects”. Someone should really fix him.


I always wondered who had more defects between him and Coq.


If ozil cant play away then xhaka shouldn’t be playing against high pressing teams.


Watford is inside the M25 and their training is right next to LC. Is that really ‘away’? Can’t get much closer …


He used to say the same about mustafi last season


Exactly. He won’t refuse if the club offered a better replacement.
But for now needs Xhaka in good spirits.
And tbf, Xhaka does have some qualities worth praising.
At least his physical presence, and his ball progression (when he find the space) is excellent.


Xhaka simply cannot tackle or header or hold the ball up. He passes mainly square balls and shoots once in every three games. Presence where??? i struggle with that comment… The guy is a fool and shouldnt even be at the club let alone playing week in week out !! Willock is 3 times the player Xhaka can ever want to be !! for me Willock would start week in week out over Xhaka !! Id tell Xhaka to sit and watch willock and learn what a midfielder should be doing and how to do it just watch Willock !!


Absolutely agree. The geezer needs to shipped out ASAP!


To be honest, I wouldn’t want Xhaka to be trying to emulate Willock. They have different skill sets and Xhaka trying a nutmeg before bursting through midfield would only end in disaster. I’d prefer if he just concentrated on playing to his strengths. If he could just learn to read the game a little better, he would be less exposed on the turn and less prone to the brain farts he seems to have. If he just tries to keep things simple and be a solid, reliable platform to initiate attacks, whilst keeping in a solid defensive position, he could… Read more »


Just like Gilberto was. Top quality.


Actually, he only has that passing range and a long shot which finds a net here and there. Being tall, he actually does not have much physical presence and is bad in tackles, so defensively he is more of a liability. And obviously he is arrogant, he did not really accept that his brainfart against spuds cost us 2 points which would’ve come in handy in the end. He actually threw our attack under the bus for not scoring one more goal. Horrible character and not a captain material. Xhaka and mustafi need to leave, no need to give the… Read more »

Ya gooner

He’s not good enough for us but he’s ours and he unfortunately will play a lot of games for us this season so the only thing we can do is pray to bergkamp that he improves all of his defects.


If Xaka had cost arsenal 8m then he would have been treated like Elenay – I think xaka’s better all round but don’t remember elenany making halve as many mistakes?
Either way neither are good enough for the arsenal x


Making sure someone’s name is misspelt to show how irrelevant and not rated he is is very lame.

Slow, rubbish tackler, but slick hair will save granite… Willock is the future


Willock is the future until you start your vitroils on him when he makes mistakes. Then you find another future and, rinse and repeat.


some of us just see what is rubbish after their first game !! that is all it took for me to realise Xhaka was an awful player and defo no midfielder well defo not good enough for arsenal !! so to say we change like the wind is just foolish !!


Totally agree with everything you said !! oh my at last someone that knows the game !! well done !! Willock is 3 times the player Xhaka could ever wish to be !! I would tell Xhaka to sit on the bench and watch Willock and learn from him and what a midfielder should be doing !!

Ya gooner

Mistakes aren’t the problem, it’s the not learning from them that’s so infuriating


Exactly @ Ya gooner

Billy Bob

Ugh Xhaka, Mustafi & Ozil are the three remaining players that we need to get off our books for various reasons and replace in the summer but, for now, if they play we cheer them on and HOPE they put in a good (not disastrous) performance!!!! However, I would prefer to see Willock or Toreria ahead of Xhaka tbh!!!

Reality check

Players excel in systems designed to suit their qualities. If you play a good, compact defensive system, it won’t matter who comes in or goes, the team doesn’t get affected much. For so long, some very intelligent Arsenal fans had you believe that Mustafi was the problem. He hasn’t played a competitive game for a while and we are no better than last year. Have already conceded 6 goals, were lucky to draw with totts and could’ve been embarrassed by Pool. So the focus switches on Xhaka now that Mustafi is history.. very disappointed that media has managed to convert… Read more »

Make Arsenal Great Again

Thank you! Reality Check, couldn’t have said it better myself.


My man, with the level-headed truth. All players have strengths and weaknesses, and you don’t need a team of world beaters to play well, just ask Man City about Norwich! What you need is good coaching and a clear system, to offset the weaknesses of the players in it, and to allow them to show off their strengths. Ozil can’t defend? Well he can assist like a machine, don’t ask him to defend. Mustafi prone to errors? Relentlessly drill the defensive block to cover and anticipate each others mistakes, they will always happen. Ditto for Xhaka. That way we can… Read more »

Reality check

Exactly.. totts were s joke before Poch made them a pack of hungry dogs – Ditto Simeone..


A very worrying statement by Emery of Xhaka….guess Emery is happy with mediocrity, challenging for 4th place in the premiership and Europa League. Players like like Xhaka wont have us challenging for trophies. He might as well be saying Mustafi is great defender….


No, Emery has been left with the European dross mountain by his predecessor. There was just no way to clear it all out in the last window. It’s not a case of being happy with it, just realistic while he shapes the side for the future and works on moving on the remaining dross.

My Cousin Vinai

Well nobody is forcing him to play those players now, are they?
I mean, if he had his way, Mikhi would still be here.


And who in the squad is remotely capable of playing the DLP role other than Xhaka, for him to pick? And plz don’t say Torreira.


I don’t see why Torreira can’t do that. Don’t be fooled by his excellent tackling ability, Torreira is a very capable passer and keeps the ball moving as well as anyone in the team. Complete midfielder for me. We’ve got a real gem there, mark my words.

Reality check

Love Torriera don’t get me wrong but he is far from a complete midfielder, not for PL anyway. On what evidence did you claim he’s a complete midfielder? he is so slight that he just bounces off the stronger and bigger players, routinely loses duals on second balls because of his size and lack of pace. Can’t run with the ball, not great at long range passing. You can’t be a playmaker if you can’t protect the ball under pressure. He’s aggressive and works hard, people love that, so the ignore everything else


Willock or Torriera both could play holding mid better than Xhaka !! seriously do you even watch the games??? or even know about football !!


Lol that’s funny. It seems you’re the one who’s not paying attention to his football.
We do not play a “holding mid”, we play a DLP. Do you even know what that is?
Saying Willock & LT could play the role suggests that you don’t know what you’re talking about.


Of course Torreira can do that, he is more natural than anyone in that role. Guen is also good there, but more of b2b.


Look we have willock in the squad so to say he is left we no choice is just rubbish.. Willock is 3 times the player Xhaka will ever be fact ! and should be starting week in week out !! Xhaka cannot tackle hold the ball up or even header !! he passes mainly square balls without even looking where the ball is going most of the time !! He shoots once in every 3 games !! the man should be told to sit on the bench and watch Willock and try and learn from willock !! simple and fact… Read more »

Tanned arse

What he was left with is far from what he has to chose from now

Reality check

Well according to his first interview, he was meant to improve the existing players who cost the club an arm and a leg. Don’t know how changing the entire team will achieve that.


But some players just can’t improve.

Mr. G

No, he is not important for us. He’s every bit a liability as Mustafi.
Along with failing (so far) to improve our defence, one of the biggest disappointments with Emery is that he continues to pick Xhaka, a player who had already proved under Wenger that he is too slow, ponderous and prone to brainless errors which cost us points.
Scoring the occasional thunderbolt does not nearly make up for his flaws.


I like Xhaka, I wouldn’t say no to an upgrade, but he’s currently our most important central midfielder, by the end of the season, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Torreira may have surpassed him? But right now I’d stick with Xhaka. Mustafi does good things, but makes stupid mistakes, but what pisses me off the most, is I read an interview where he stated he doesn’t really like football, and see’s it more of a job. Ozil drives me mental with his inconsistency, body language and sickies, particularly the ones he took last season on away days, after training fine in club website… Read more »


If ozil’s “unwillingness to defend” is the reason for him being benched even though we all know what he can do when it comes to link up play and assists, please explain to me why Xhaka is not being benched. I am not even saying we should do away with him completely but we surely can not be rewarding a performance like the one he gave vs spurs with a guaranteed place in the starting line up. Also, I do not mind Emery. I do not rate him highly, I also do not rate him poorly. He is ok and… Read more »


Your comment deserve a 1000 thumbs up. Emery has a personal vendetta against ozil, i don’t know why but it’s clear as day for all to see. Xhaka brings nothing special to the team, only costing us wins with his many fouls and madness but Emery keeps rewarding him while throwing ozil under the bus for not tracking back enough. I hope Don Raul and Edu find the cojones to give Unai the boot when he undoubtedly comes up short because that’s where we are headed if he continues on this path.

SB Still

If Xhaka has learnt from all his mistakes, he would be a great DM, with good passing range!


sorry but this is why we should expect the same as last season. xhaka is not good enough and he isn’t a leader.

as long as emery is in charge and xhaka is playing we will not achieve anything. allowing mustafi the chance to fight for a spot shows emery’s level

our defensive midfielder should be torriera and central mid guendozhi, when ballerin is fit maitland niles should be given his chance in that role also

David Luiz should be preferred in DM than xhaka

My Cousin Vinai

Xhaka will be Unai’s precipice; his time as arsenal head coach seems like it will be defined by Xhaka himself, a man clearly out of favour with us fans but Emery clearly prefers him over fan favourite Torreira.

So now, any future issues or mistakes from Xhaka falls directly on Emery’s feet and he’s now solely responsible, and if the tide continues to turn against Xhaka, the water will be at the head coach’s feet too.

Good luck.


I think Emery will move Xhaka on as soon as he can find a replacement for Xhaka’s great qualities without added limitations. But for now, he provides something not many in the team do. Like the Xhaka/Wilshere talk at the beginning of last season. Wilshere had all of Xhaka’s qualities, and was a better dribbler and was quicker. He just couldn’t stay uninjured. This was why he needed moving. Xhaka is just something Emery has to endure until he can do without.


No he doesn’t, he has other options and does not need to play xhaka, we are a better team without him.


What great qualities? He is a good player, I do not think he is exceptional. He has a magical shot but rarely uses it and Guendouzi amd Luiz can make a long pass just as good, if not better, than xhaka.


Said it so well mate, spot on!


I kinda get if went through a period where we needed him (and even then what the fuck did he actually really do for us thats so special?), but we have options now, we dont have to stick with euroshopper quality anymore, the name brand players are back on the menu and our dog days are over. You can play Ceballos and any 2 of Willock, Guendouzi and Torreira and you will not miss Xhaka for anything. But of course well have to go through the Xhaka 2.0 period where we pretend hes turned a corner right up until he… Read more »


So Xhaka is the new whipping boy it seems. Why can’t we not have a player we insist on bullying into the ground until they become more shit than they actually are? He’s a good player, not a first choice for a club like ours, but that’s where we are until someone else steps up.

It’s pathetic how the flame torched mob jump on the next available bandwagon with such eagerness to lynch another Arsenal player. Especially one who gives it his all regardless.


Xhaka is an okay player but we have better options.

He’s not suited to the modern game and he makes a lot of mistakes.

It’s down to the manager to select the best team and he should be the one who takes the flak for playing Xhaka.

I’d never condone booing an Arsenal player but this is a public forum where individuals are encouraged to share their opinion. You shouldn’t be angry when people do just that.


I was with you until the Gives his all part. Like Mustaffi I think he looks for the easy way out sometimes.


He’s hasn’t got the quality we need and that was clear in his first season. We seem to be stuck with him for now and he has Emery’s backing which is fine. After the player turn around we have had its not a problem to trust the management in knowing when to move him on. So fingers crossed he has a better game today and the team gets all the points. Coyg


You can say that on many Arsenal player. But this is our squad. Do you want us to walk the formal spuds way and replace half the team every year? Replacing the manager is more usefull.


Xhaka is a liability waitng to happen in every single game. He cannot hold the ball up or header or tackle !! For me and anyone in football Question marks are all over him even being at the club. I understand protecting players and building their belief but facts have to be said as well !! The Guy is a terrible player and midfielder. Willock is already 3 times the player Xhaka can even hope to be !! There has to be something in Xhakas contract stating he must start every game ! because i cannot really believe Emery cannot… Read more »


Don Raul must step in and sell Xhaka, as Emery is blind to his defects, same as Mkhi.


Eddie McGoldrick or the Xhakster?


Yes.. you can’t beat those wreckless lunges ?

Reality check

Can’t defend Xhaka untill he sustains a period of consistency, without his usual defensive short-comings. We use to play with softies who – with all their talent – got bullied out of the game on many occasions. Xhaka has the character not just to stand his ground but also defend his team mates. Something he has done consistently since day one..

Tanned arse

Torreira gives us balance too. Can surely only be a height thing defending set pieces but it’s not even an attribute that serves at other points during open play. I get the manager being positive in regards discussing his player, by building confidence and showing faith but the byproduct of that is torreria’s goes down when he can’t get into his best suited position ahead of someone who (to my mind) offers us less. I feel like a broken record on this subject but I see 4 really exciting young talents that can play in various combinations that if played… Read more »


This means he will play him vs Watford. Fu*k it. the same sh1te as with AW, playing players through bad form… Although at some point, it is not a bad form anymore, it is a player with more deficiencies than positives who needs to be let go.

Paul Roberts

So we’ve slaughtered Mustafi and Ozil and now the sights are on Xhaka. Can’t people just get behind our players? These over inflated attacks on our players do not help the team.


I’m so perpetually hopeful he can overcome his stupid side…… I felt the same about Musterafi the Brave.
It’s hard to be confident tho, when the situations arise for the silly side to show up , it’s just in their DNA.
Like a baby in the crèche …..”just a little tug” or “just a little slide” or “just a little tap”


“We were speaking this morning. Recognise that mistake, learn, correct it, improve and repeat with success.“ The problem with Xhaka is that I´m not sure whether he is capable to do that.


All we can tell for certain from these comments is that Unai feels he should publicly defend/support Xhaka. We can’t know how he really feels, except that he knows Xhaka will have to play a significant role this season (or at least until January). Hell, he even spoke positively about Mustafi this week and we can assume he knows that bloke is … not good. This may be all about trying to buck up his struggling players. That said, let’s see if Xhaka continues to get as many starts. I hope not. Get the best out of him in appropriate… Read more »

Billy Bob

People yapping on about others having to have a hate figure are talking tosh, there are just certain players that have needed shifting for quite some time, they might be okay as squad players but unfortunately Emery plays certain ones with alarming regularity!!! I feel for Willock and Chambers who both looked good in pre-season only to be ousted by Xhaka and Luis respectively!!! Initially I thought Emery was into playing players based on merit, but he seems to just “play it safe” with players that are limited when younger players could be given the chance to shine!!!


The thing about Xhaka is that he’s being taken for Granit.

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