Thursday, December 7, 2023

Arteta: Xhaka turnaround an example to others

When Mikel Arteta took over at Arsenal, he inherited a mess overall, and an extremely toxic situation with ex-captain Granit Xhaka.

The Swiss international’s relationship with many fans had gone beyond breaking point after his furious reaction to being booed when substituted against Crystal Palace.

It was widely expected he’d leave the club in January, with Hertha Berlin ready to provide an escape route for the midfielder.

However, when he arrived, Arteta promised everyone a clean slate and a chance under him, and Xhaka has been one of the big beneficiaries.

He’s a regular in the team again, and like every other player at Wembley played a superb part in the 2-0 win over Man City on Saturday.

The Arsenal boss admitted he had to convince the 27 year old he had a future with the Gunners, and that other players could look at him as an example of how things in football aren’t always black and white.

“The challenge with Granit was to convince him that there was still a place for him here, that I had big belief in him and that things can turn around pretty quickly in this industry,” said Arteta at his pre-Villa press conference.

“He had to send the right messages, first of all he had to believe that he could do it and if that was the case we were going to support him all the way through. I am really glad to hear and sense as well the reaction from the fans towards him.

“I think they can appreciate what he has done, that’s in the past and there’s a lot of positives to take from difficult situations.

We all learn from that and I think he is a really good example for any player that is in a difficult moment … if you are willing and if you are consistent and you really want to do it there is always a way back.”

Arteta backed Xhaka, along with David Luiz, as players who ‘suffer’ when things don’t go right, but whose desire to succeed is high.

“They are two players that are worth spending time with and giving confidence, because I know how professional they are, how much they want to be successful at this football club and how much they care,” he continued.

“Sometimes when they react or they have difficulties, they really suffer and when that happens, they deserve support and back up.

“They are showing from their performances that they deserve to be here and you can see how they fight for the club.”

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Mentally Drained Gooner

Is that a subtle message for Guendouzi??

Kanu Believe It

I think to get through that barnet of his, messages need to be a bit less subtle.


Like a move back to France?


A blueprint, if ever there was one.


Is a message for everyone.


Bugger all subtle about it – that youngster needs to put his head down – and his ego to one side – and take the opportunity to work with someone who WILL be one of the great managers.

Eddie Hoyte

Let’s be honest, maybe this is the Xhaka Arsene Wenger, Emery and Freddie all pictured. Maybe this is who Arsene saw before he got him. He’s finally maximizing his potential and performing at the very top weekly. Put away your dislike for his past character and past errors. This current Xhaka would walk into City’s team over Gundogan anytime. They both play in the same position anyway. This Xhaka would walk into United’s midfield and play alongside Pogba and Bruno. That’s how immense and important he has been under Arteta from day 1. Kudos to the player himself, and kudos… Read more »


I think in keeping with that observation Arsene alluded to him improving specific aspects of the game (rash challenges) to get to be a top player. Unai gave him a new contract so it’s clear that they all saw the spark. Mikel seems to be using the energy/aggression Xhaka clearly has in a very positive way.
Xhaka, I get the feeling, needs to be shown to be valued which is what Mikel is doing and what Arsene would’ve probably

Eddie Hoyte

Exactly, Arteta is making use of his hothead the right way, and it’s clear Xhaka is willing to bleed for Arteta on the pitch, a large group of the players are willing to bleed for Arteta on the pitch.
When you look back the mess we were in and the whole toxic environment that surrounded the club and fans and you see the improvements made by the players, mate It’s ridiculous!!
With that same squad every pundits condemned and called uncoachable we convincingly beat Liverpool and City in a space of three days, it’s fuucking ridiculous how it was possible

Ya gooner

His improvement has been great but he isn’t better than gundogan

Eddie Hoyte

Really? Please do educate us on how this season’s Gundogan has been better than this Xhaka… Go on, I’d like to know


Actually Eddie Hoyte, it is your initial claim that he could walk into both City’s and United’s teams. I’m open minded and would love to read your case that Xhaka has been better than Gundogan this season. I think that he has been better since the restart but not all season.

Eddie Hoyte

Chepetin, Go check player’s comparison on EPL site bruv… Also Initially my statement said “This current Xhaka” not the old one.
This one means the Xhaka we all know under Arteta.
But right now Xhaka all season seems like the better player when you go check official EPL’s comparison


Listen mate, I come to this site to learn about football from you guys. I’m hoping to get ideas, opinions, perspectives, etc that I’m not going to find on more general sites. There are a handful of guys whose comments have taught me a lot and I was interested in your statement so that’s why I asked for your thoughts.

Eddie Hoyte

You should know Gundogan isnt really the player he was before when ha came to the league, but then the media and pundits won’t point it out or make a case for him since he plays for City. All he does is literally recycle passes just like the midfielders at Emirates does. You should understand he’s also in a more balanced team, so he has a bit of an edge since other players over there help him out a lot, he plays with the smartest midfielders in the league, Silva and KDB. This season Xhaka has more forward and progressive… Read more »


I don’t think anyone is holding the Man City defenders up as examples of defensive solidity. They’ve lost 9 games in the league this season – they’re crap at the back. Comparing ours to theirs is not a high bench mark.

Xhaka has had a really good few months. Way too soon to be heaping this hyperbole on him though. There had been a lot of (shit) water under the bridge.

A Different George

He might be better than Gundagon, but he’s not as good as Fernandinho was. Which helps explain what happened to Man City this year.

Lucas Sam

Your point being? You can also say that Messi is better than Pepe but what is the point in this current conversation?

Timorous Me

I’m thinking the structural soundness of this system Arteta has not only installed but gotten the players to fully buy into is helping a lot in terms of minimizing the opportunity for rash challenges and risky, easily punished passes in his own end.

So major credit to both: Arteta for finding a system that seems to be effective for this group of players he inherited, and Xhaka (and others) for believing in it and working hard to make it a success.


This is the player Wenger saw when he signed him. Kudos to Arteta – and the player – for turning it around.

Ya gooner

Are you talking the whole season or post lockdown. I suspect the latter even then gundogan has 5 goals 2 assists from midfield xhaka has 1 goal 2 assists. Just as a starter. Look I’m not saying xhaka is shit because gundogan is a really good player. We tend to get a bit too excited as arsenal fans sometimes though. Xhaka wouldn’t ‘walk in’ to the city team or the utd team. Fernandez and pogba have hit great form as much as I hate to admit it which is why they have a chance at cl and we don’t.

Eddie Hoyte

I’m talking about Xhaka under Arteta generally..please don’t play the goal.Asisst card here. There’s a lot more to midfielder’s game than goals. Gundogan isn’t the player he was before anymore, it doesn’t mean he can’t get the occasional numbers once a while. I’ve seen both players play since Arteta became coach, and my money will be on Xhaka. Lampard has more career goals than Xavi ever dreamt of but you and I know who the superior playmaker between both was. Also are you really telling me midfield trio of Bruno-Pogba-Xhaka is impossible? Mate are you saying Magic and Fred would… Read more »


Agree that there is much more to a MF’s game than goals and assists. So what is your case for Gundogan?

Eddie Hoyte

You have your answer on EPL’s comparison

Chinaenye nwachukwu

Well generally arsenal club is in a good shape now than previous squad Artheta have and been improving the arsenal club since his arrival and that is my joy bro so forget gondogan and the rest because all I want is let arsenal be a better team they are before than the high blood pressure the Emery arsenal been giving guys please now we can see the Gunner’s we all know that made me to fall in love with the team for real Gunner’s don’t fear any team and that is why they are Gunner’s and I can’t wait to… Read more »


But that’s also because Xhaka plays very deep. Almost as an auxiliary left back covering for Saka in some games and in general close the center halves to build from the back. Wasn’t his biggest fan before but i do think you need to get close to the opposition box to score lt assist more frequently and it’s far less likely in an Arsenal team who don’t keep the ball well anymore or dominate games. What he’s asked to do instead, he does very well. Also he plays every game consistently. That’s a very underrated quality to barely ever miss… Read more »

jamie t

xhaka wouldnt get into citys squad


Please compare both players on Premierleague site for this season and be the Judge please

Eddie Hoyte

You must be taking the piss if you really think Gundogan has been better than Xhaka this season.
I was even talking about Under Arteta, only for me to go see Xhaka has actually been the better player all season.
Only difference is while Gundogan edges it Attacking wise a bit, Xhaka edges it when it comes to their defensive duties by a mile.

Go check the comparison yourself


Touche !! my point exactly. I wanted to point out that Xhaka is better

jamie t

what on earth are you on about we are 10th in the league! a good cup run and you think this guy is the next pirlo. have a lie down for yourself lad.His form has improved but he is a seriously limited player. And would get nowhere near the city side.


i agree. i had given up on him after the walkoff tbh but he has really turned it around and seems completely focused now. arteta can hopefully knock the rough edges off his game and ensure he reaches his potential as he comes into his peak years. there are few if any players out there with his set of abilities. best quarterback/passer i have seen in PL since xabi alonso.

jamie t

gundogan is several levels above xhaka


I still cannot see it. :/


Fair play to Xhaka. I’m sure a lot of us weren’t that bothered if he left in January but now I think the majority want him to stay!

Hope he can keep it up!


In a crazy season full of crazy aspects, this has perhaps been the craziest aspect of the lot. I think most of us were sure back in January that Xhaka’s days as an Arsenal player were over. Yet, fast forward six months and we have an entirely different player with an entirely different attitude. His has quietly knuckled down and gradually put his game back together, match by match. Now, his name is surely one of the first on the team sheet. For that, he deserves great credit and once again, Arteta is bringing out the best in a player,… Read more »


Mate – you and I have had our healthy scraps on here but I absolutely agree on this. Been thinking about our ‘difference’ on Musta and Luiz and whether they can do a ‘Xhaka’… what strikes me is what Mik says (quoted above) regarding players who really ‘feel’ the team. I would argue that the latter two are similar in that sense – very emotional, high or low, confidence-feeders. They are probably more susceptible to pressure/crowd/emotion and therefore more likely to make that crucial mistake… BUT – that is only because they care – really care. And may just be… Read more »

jamie t

so youre saying they are mentally weak which has been a problem for this team for years. Stronger characters who are more consistant and less error prone are needed if we want to see real progress,

Pep Arteta

I am still hoping to see him score freekicks like he did during Emery early days


I know, if he can score one of his rare thunderbastards before end of the season it’d put him over the top.


FA cup final winner! If i had written the season thats how it would end.

Wilshere's Middle Finger

My goodness, how much better a fit is Artata to the job of Arsenal manager than Emery was?!

The difference in decision making around Granit Xhaka and management of his season on-field and off-field epitomises it for me.

Cliff Bastin

What a strange season


Chaos is a ladder

Cultured Determination

Yup i’m starting to really like ceballos. Continue that hard work and desire and set your sights to be as good as santi 1 day. Xhaka can aim to play up to petit’s level.
Now all we need is powerhouse monster to put into the mix (maybe like partey?) And we’ll have a midfield trio who’d be fearsome

jamie t

are you seriously comparing xhaka with petit?

Naked Cygan

There is no doubt Arteta is doing a great job, and most of the players are responding really well to his methods. For me, his biggest challenge will be to keep these players switched on for 90 min+ injury time. We have a great team, but we tend to switch off and not show up for games that we should win. Arteta has a better win rate than Emery which is great 56% vs 55.1%. What stood out to me is the games we have lost under Arteta. Out of the 5 games we have lost, you could say 4… Read more »


Apart from that Chelsea game at Stamford bridge we are have never come from behind to draw a game with Arteta. Still talking about the switch on.

DB’s first touch

Against Liverpool last week? Came back from 1 nil down to win it, or did you specifically mean a draw?

A Different George

Very interesting point. I think the first two (pre-lockdown) were largely because, as Arteta himself said, the players were not yet physically capable of playing the way he wanted for a full 90 minutes.

Lucas Sam

I think there is also a mixed blend of fatigue because Arteta demands more running and pressing. Not saying your point is invalid, in fact I agree that we tend to switch off or even get complacent.



Xhaka Kaka

Dont push it. I think he needs another couple of years before he’s mature enough for that again.


Don’t be a hater?. Who does Auba give the armband to when he leaves the pitch?


PSA: Has anyone seen one Mesut Ozil, a reward is being offered.


Seen him online in Fortnite, but that could have been the wifey playing, so better continue the search. 😉


I wanna play for MA!


Just goes to show how little people understand. He has been excellent for a while now and pivotal to our midfield. He has also improved on his tackling, positioning not least further enhanced by Arteta. We will need improvements in midfield even so. Reliance on say AMN or Willock next season would be daft. Rather we should strive to keep Guendouzi. If he needs to go out on loan for a season to develop and sow his wild oats so be it. Torreira is a question mark if he stays as well but if he does that’s one good asset… Read more »


Good thing about Arteta is he has worked and improved some of the players he has inherited in Granit and Mustafi where many fans would only prefer to cast scorn. Even if we have yet to translate these improvements to actual concrete results in terms of league position, you feel we are going in a better direction. Its typical of too many fans to prefer to see what they want. Its inherent in pundits and ex player/commentators as well. They will castigate Mustafi for a slack moment but choose to ignore say an excellent deep pass (say against City) which… Read more »

Bossman Bill

Neither Xhaka nor Mustafi have been anywhere near the standard we need for this club to move forward. Even if Xhaka has been very good these last few weeks, and immense this last week in particular, it’s been three or four years and he has been part of the deteriorating standards of this club. Not just him, obviously, but you keep on as though he’s been this vieira-like figure for us, just no one can see it except for you, and those of us who, reasonably, don’t think he has been good enough over a long enough period of time… Read more »


He’s always a good lad to have, even if we find better midfielder, we should keep him in the squad as a rotation option. His improvement in the game, i feel is that Arteta gave him specific instructions, to stay back and cover CB and LB when they go forward. Previously, he will do what all we expected our midfielder to do, follow the play and move up the pitch. When playing for Swiss (they need him to be the playmaker), he plays higher up the pitch, which is what he used/ to do for us, pushing higher. He’s good… Read more »


It’s always taken Xhaka a while to turn around.

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