Xhaka: I want to give back to Arteta in every game

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Granit Xhaka says he’s back to enjoying life at Arsenal and credits honest talks with Mikel Arteta for his turnaround in fortunes.

Jeered off the field during December’s defeat to Crystal Palace and subsequently stripped of the club captaincy, the Swiss midfielder looked certain to seal a deal with Hertha Berlin after talks in January.

On taking over as head coach, Arteta immediately worked on getting the midfielder to change his mind about leaving, initially getting him to stick around until the end of the season. A regular starter under the Spaniard, it’s now looking like he could stay even longer as the Gunners build for the future.

Speaking to Arsenal Player, he said, “I know it was not easy for me, but this is in the past and I look to the future. I have to smile a little bit because I’m very, very happy to be back and to enjoy the [thing] I love most; to play for this club, to play football. I’m very, very happy.

“I had a very, very good meeting with him [Arteta] three days after he came to the club. He told me a lot of things, I was very open with him, he was very open with me. Now we are here, I think we, both sides, are happy to bring this club where it has to be.

“It’s always good if the coach can protect you and speak openly with me and the players. In each training session, I learn a lot from him. He speaks a lot with me, how to stay, where to be. I want to give back to him in each game and each training. It’s the most important thing for me.”

On a 10-game unbeaten run in 2020, Xhaka is confident that the club are back on track after a traumatic end to the Unai Emery era.

“I think we had three or four months where it was bad for everyone,” he said. “I’ve had a feeling for a month, one and a half months, that we’re back, back in the game.

“We need some luck as well. We’ve had a lot of unlucky situations. But to have luck we have to work and we work very hard to get back to where we need to be. We have a lot of games, I’m looking forward to having a special season.”

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C.B.
C.B.
3 months ago

I like him a lot more than I did a while ago. Playing a lot better, though the odd wayward pass or mistake. No careless diving in any more, which is a good thing for him and us.

Hope he keeps improving, he was in a terrible place after being booed off.

Artetas Assistant
Artetas Assistant
3 months ago
Reply to  C.B.

Small margins btw toxicity and happiness in a relationship. Review your ‘important’ relationships including recent ones that crashed. You’re prone to similar patterns.

Julio Baptista's humble alter ego
Julio Baptista's humble alter ego
3 months ago

Massive credit to him for taking this so positively as well. Hope he stays for a long time and continues to strengthen his relationship with the fans

santi's thigh grab
santi's thigh grab
3 months ago

Never really rated Xhaka but Arteta has gotten the best out of him and he’s
much more solid with his defensive duties. Arteta has given him much better
positioning so he isn’t put into situations where he’s chasing players and then
scything them down. We have a quality manager on our hands, who is going
to be massive.

Dave
Dave
3 months ago

Arteta is a gargantuan man manager.

Dave M
Dave M
3 months ago

This is about how I feel and a good summation. He was poor, but he was being exposed by our tactics too. The midfield formation right now is truly remarkable. Xhaka is essentially playing this weird DM with LB-CB cover, which essentially means Saka is a wing back-bordering in deep-lying LW, our LW (Auba) therefore gets to play almost as a second striker, which really showed against Everton, our other holding midfielder plays an expansive, but slightly deeper box-to-box CM/DM hybrid and mesut is in “the hole”, Bellerin (or other RB) is playing a more normal RB role than Saka… Read more »

Artetas Assistant
Artetas Assistant
3 months ago
Reply to  Dave M

Nobody wins when the family feuds, don’t bother assigning blames

tanned arse
tanned arse
3 months ago

I think it’s credit to the manager for finding a way to utilise his strengths whilst hiding his weaknesses. It’s specific role he plays which seems adapted to suit him. Credit also to xhaka for his response. He does well there but there’s still costly parts to his game that shouldn’t exist in one so experienced. Yesterday the emphasis on the first goal conceded was on Luiz and kolasinac. Kola made a decision. It was a terrible one dropping so deep but at least he made a decision. Luiz was left going back to goal to get ahead of the… Read more »

CoNr
CoNr
3 months ago

To be fair, I’ll hold my hands up and admit I was one of the fans calling for you to be shipped off. Since Arteta has come in though, him and a few others ( mainly Mustafi ) have really surprised me by the up turn in form and willingness to give it 110%. Do mistakes still happen, yes they do, but they dont seem to affect the players like before where the head would drop and they spent rest of the game just going through the motions. I think Arteta’s plan of him dropping in to LB to cover… Read more »

Dave M
Dave M
3 months ago
Reply to  CoNr

I really hope we sign Ceballos up. I said it about a month ago when everyone was back on the “Ceballos…whatevs”, there is a special player there – he has a Santi Cazorla vibe to him and that takes time to develop. I really hope we spend what is necessary to sign him up. I see him as a big player in top-class European midfields for years to come…hopefully that is with Arsenal…although technically that wouldn’t be a on European midfield anymore would it?!

CharlieTheChump
CharlieTheChump
3 months ago

Redemption is always sweet.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon
3 months ago

The most improve player under Arteta in my opinion. Been a huge turnaround for him as he looked destined to leave a couple months ago and many, including myself, would not have been sorry to see him go at all. He started the season as a liability but he’s now arguably our most important player behind Aubameyang and Leno.

onenil
onenil
3 months ago

It shows how a poor manager can wreck a player, make him look hopeless by exposing all his weaknesses. A good one can brings out their strengths.

Cultured determination
Cultured determination
3 months ago
Reply to  onenil

Yup. We all know that. I had a shit manager once too and the company got screwed. Funny thing is that the boss of the company didnt know it cos he was a stupid fool too. Wait. Just to clarify. True story. Not referring to arsenal 🙂

Man Manny
Man Manny
3 months ago

A return to the Champion league, whichever way, would be the most fitting and satisfying climax to the season. That would be a just reward for the new spirit in the team.
I hope we break into top 4 (as I think City will at least get a stay of execution), or win the EL.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)
Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)
3 months ago

Credit to him, he’s improved since Arteta came in, it must have been hard for him, and he looks happy on the pitch.

Moving forward I think we could do with an upgrade on him for next season though.

Martin
Martin
3 months ago

I really can’t think of any attainable players who can do the job he is doing

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)
Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin

That is why you’re not a top scout or negotiator. Surely the club has those.

Jijo
Jijo
3 months ago

Ohh the club has those and we should be okay. Thank you for pointing it out. I was kinda worried about Auba leaving..great to know that our great scouts and negotiators will get us an equally capable striker..

DaDude
DaDude
3 months ago
Reply to  Jijo

For half the money we get for Auba obviously, so Stan can get himself a prawn sandwich and a Snickers from the profit.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)
Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)
3 months ago
Reply to  Jijo

Xhaka is no Aubameyang. Stop over thinking things.

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan
3 months ago
Reply to  Martin

When was the last time you watched an Arsdnal game?

Kanu Believe It
Kanu Believe It
3 months ago

I’m delighted he’s playing well, and long may that continue while he’s at the club.

I just dont want him at the club past the Summer, his behaviour was disgusting.

Francesc
Francesc
3 months ago

Disgusting may be a harsh word. But yes I don’t like him either..

Luther
Luther
3 months ago

But what about your behaviour as a supporter?

Henrypiresberg
Henrypiresberg
3 months ago

I never thought we will have an awesome Man manager after Wenger left but Arteta has proved me wrong. I hate managers like Unai and Mourinho who leaves bad taste in the mouth of the players because it’s detrimental for the image of the club too. I am sure much more talented people would be willing to play at Arsenal under Arteta’s tutelage.

Rbha
Rbha
3 months ago
Reply to  Henrypiresberg

Comparing Unai to Mourinho is not fair. Unai was incompetent but Mou was plain evil

Vonnie
Vonnie
3 months ago
Reply to  Rbha

Emery was nasty too, blaming everyone and calling out players in public. They’re both evil.

Rbha
Rbha
3 months ago
Reply to  Vonnie

Good we got rid of him..let’s spuds enjoy Mou for now

Heavnry
Heavnry
3 months ago
Reply to  Rbha

I’ve been enjoying Moo’s pressers lately.

If we’re ever in a recruitment tug-of-war with Sp*ds for a potential signing, I would show the player video of all of Moo’s and Mikel’s post-match comments. Win or lose, the energy around the leaders is remarkably different. I love this team!

Reality check
Reality check
3 months ago

Leader on the pitch armband or not..

Rbha
Rbha
3 months ago
Reply to  Reality check

He is to a certain extent, but Aubameyang is even better with his show of commitment

Dom47
Dom47
3 months ago

You can still f*ck off to anywhere but arsenal, you never really apologized and justifying your actions by a few m*rons who insult you and your family on social media is not an excuse.

YpsiGooner
YpsiGooner
3 months ago
Reply to  Dom47

yeah, bad take there fella

CountLeaf
CountLeaf
3 months ago
Reply to  Dom47

funny how you’re firmly putting yourself in the group of the said morons whilst appearing to criticise them yourself.

fuck right off, ta ta.

Luther
Luther
3 months ago
Reply to  Dom47

He doesn’t have anything to apologise for. Fans like you need to apologise to him. It was all your fault; not his.

Rob
Rob
3 months ago

Can’t complain with his performances lately, seems to be making less of the silly unecassary tackles which often earned him a booking

Rich
Rich
3 months ago

I really like Xhaka, he’s our best midfielder, and from what is said a model professional.

But I don’t know if he’s a good midfielder?

Or if our other options are just that bad, they make him look good in comparison?

theLowCrows
theLowCrows
3 months ago

Correction blogs. We didn’t lose to Crystal Palace in December. We merely drew with them.

DaDude
DaDude
3 months ago
Reply to  theLowCrows

Believe it or not, the Xhaka incident already happened during our home game end of October. The away game was played in January and Xhaka played the full 90 in that match, already under Mikel as new coach.

Santori
Santori
3 months ago

Arteta is really finding the qualities in some of the older players who have lost their way under Emery. Xhaka has been much more effective and consistent and as mentioned before in seasons past, he is a lynchpin for us because of his passing range from deep. But we are also seeing Ceballos now weighing in with good quality deep passes and its no suprise that Arteta favours a Mustafi 2.0 plus Luiz as both also have superb passing ability from deep. Lined up along with Xhaka in a 3 and with Cebellos from the centre circle, they form a… Read more »

Gunnerdaremkd
Gunnerdaremkd
3 months ago

U think xhala was aleays a good player but it was not managed well by unai or wengee who played hin as dm all alone exposed, if you see when he is playing with swiss side he is always plays good and now arteta is using him in a simillar role to comolement his qualites.

Santori
Santori
3 months ago

There was never any real issue with Granit. It was all fan induced. Granted he was not receiving full tactical instructions enough from Emery, the entire squad did not help either at that stage as we were disjointed. Defense is a team game. And when we were playing under Unai, the attackers were getting away with too much. Theyw ere not making runs back to support the fullbacks (Auba and Pepe) and they tend to stand static when attacking expecting the midfield or backline to find them in tight confines. Since Arteta has come on, he has lite a rocket… Read more »

Dave M
Dave M
3 months ago
Reply to  Santori

He’s still slow and arteta has basically set this single (fantastic) tactical setup to Minimise the weaknesses of xhaka (and Özil). Yes he can pick a pass if he has time and space and arteta is doing his best to give him time and space. He plays so deep now and with solid support from other midfield and full backs and wings that we are no longer easily exposed on the counter. But there isn’t much tactical versatility in that. While ever he is there we are quite locked into that system. He’s a limited player and not a modern… Read more »

Luther
Luther
3 months ago
Reply to  Santori

Exactly! Liverpool fans inspired their team to come back from 3-0 down against Barcelona, and our fans handed our title to Leicester.

Need to start by driving out AFTV. Let Robbie Lyle feel the hostility that he and his pricks imposed on Xhaka, Mustafi, and most importantly, Wenger.

ArsenesLongSufferingZipper
ArsenesLongSufferingZipper
3 months ago
Reply to  Luther

Sorry, but Arsene handed Leicester the title when he ensured Arsenal was the ONLY club in the top 5 European leagues NOT to sign an outfield player that summer. He actually publicly bigged up our chances based on the fact that all the other top PL sides were in transition, and then signed ONLY Peter Chech, when one or two more players in key positions were clearly also needed.

Futsboller
Futsboller
3 months ago

At least we beat Leicester twice that season — head to head, we did what we could. What I remember from that season was our forwards missing wide opens goals at the worst time; it hurts to think about!

OdalGooner
OdalGooner
3 months ago

I would have thought that by now every single person even remotely interested in Arsenal would be aware that it wasn’t Wenger who “didn’t sign anyone” – the entire structure behind him just used him and his unquestionably loyalty to his players and his employer to hide behind. I’m pretty sure Wenger never said “No, I don’t want any players this year, spend everything on new curtains!”

Luther
Luther
3 months ago

I don’t know how many games you went to that season, but the fans cost us so many points by creating a toxic atmosphere, and relinquished our home advantage. If we weren’t 2-0 up by half-time, they’d turn on the players. The Swansea game in particular comes to mind, where the fans destroyed the players’ confidence and we lost a game we would’ve easily won otherwise. Had the fans done their job and properly got behind the team throughout the season, Arsene Wenger’s decision to only sign Petr Cech (not Peter Chech) would have been vindicated.

Teryima Adi
Teryima Adi
3 months ago

Make Xhaka great again.

goonero
goonero
3 months ago

Not sure I’ll ever fully appreciate the player in terms of his attributes but he’s got character and principles and a lot of heart. Sometimes maybe even too much heart but i seems like Arteta has given him direction and purpose and he’s taken to it exceptionally well, probably done as much as anyone to set the tone with his performance level and commitment to the cause.

Naked Cygan
Naked Cygan
3 months ago

I am glad he is happy, and long may it continue, and credit to Arteta for getting the best out of him. Emery was a shit manager and I am glad he is gone. But……in football, a player should play for his club, and his reputation, and not his manager. There are fans in every club that abuse their own players, which is totally wrong, but I don’t hear other clubs and their captains telling their own fans to fuck off. I hope his good form and happiness continues…..

shutta
3 months ago

Xhaka’s only mistake imo is that he never apologized.
Temper can get hot on the pitch, especially if there is some bad energy on the social media, even on the pitch with all this booing.

But on a cleaner state of mind, he should have apologized. It looks to me that he didn’t think of his behavior as unacceptable.

An apology would have ended things.

ps. I too enjoy his playing under Arteta.

OdalGooner
OdalGooner
3 months ago
Reply to  shutta

I like him better because he didn’t apologize. He wasn’t being the asshole, IMO. Was what he did classy? No. Was it understandable? Hell yes! At least he showed his dissent towards the regime – it’s murder going to work, trying your best, and everyone calling you useless. I would have preferred if ALL the players had reacted to not having clear instructions, and being unable to achieve any progress while being played in impossible positions with no tactics.

shutta
3 months ago
Reply to  OdalGooner

Of course it’s understandable, that’s my point. However, this is not acceptable. If only anyone reacted that way every time she/he feels that is treated unfairly (not only in football, this applies in general). Things should not be left to go out of hand, that’s what professionalism is (in every field also). But, as i wrote before, i can understand him, it is human to behave in an unexpected manner at times. But when things clear up, i believe an apology is owed to anybody affected by this behavior (in this particular case swearing and disrespecting the club by throwing… Read more »

Kelvin
Kelvin
3 months ago
Reply to  shutta

Hw many apologized to Xhaka and his family for wishing them dead? B6t you want him to apologize for dissent. Fan needs to realize that respect is reciproal snd mutual

Luther
Luther
3 months ago
Reply to  shutta

I also don’t think of his behaviour as unacceptable. I’d have been quite disappointed in him if he had apologised to those pricks.

Instead, Emmanuel Eboue and Gervinho should apologise for NOT telling the fans to fuck off when they were disrespected during their substitutions in 2008 and 2012 respectively.

Michael Daly
Michael Daly
3 months ago

He is playing now better than he has ever done since joining-unthinkable in mid-December