Granit Xhaka insists that Arsenal remain ‘legendary’ despite an 8th placed finish in the Premier League this season, and potentially no European football next time around.

The Swiss international was reflecting on what was an extraordinary campaign for him personally, and a disappointing one for the club in general. It was put to him that given the position we’ve ended up in, Arsenal might not be a considered a big club.

Speaking to Blick, he replied, “What kind of question is that? Arsenal FC is and remains a legendary club. For many young players, and also for me, it is a dream, indeed an honour, to be allowed to appear.

“I see the club, especially with Mikel Arteta, well positioned for the future and I am sure that the Gunners will attack European football again soon.”

His relationship with Arteta helped him put behind the unrest that followed his brief spell as captain and that incident against Crystal Palace. Admitting he had a concrete offer from Hertha Berlin, conversations with the newly appointed manager led him to stay and fight for his place.

“He convinced me to stay with Arsenal,” said the 28 year old.

“We had a very good conversation shortly after his appointment, and I can really only say positive things about him. He is a young, very meticulous trainer who gives more than 100% in every training session, who optimally prepares us for every single game.

“I have rarely experienced this. He is really a great guy as a coach, but also as a person and I have already learned a lot from him during the time he is with us. Many details that have made me even better.

“So it’s really a pleasure to be able to play under him.”

The midfielder received plaudits for his role in the 2-0 win over Man City, but he played down the idea that he should be feted himself, or that he’s out to prove people wrong after the difficulties earlier in the season.

“What does celebrating mean?,” he asked. “Not just me, the whole team deserves it. Everyone knows Man City is a team with top quality, with world class players and a very good coach.

“We put in a great team performance and you cannot single out one player, but the whole starting eleven and also the substitutes and the whole squad. And our willpower and attitude, otherwise you have no chance against Manchester City.

“It has nothing to do with my personal appreciation, that’s not what I care about. I always look from game to game, always try to give my maximum, to meet and implement the coach’s specifications. I don’t go into the game to show the fans who booed me before that I can do something.

“That is not what drives me.”

It really is hard to fault his attitude, and if we’re to come out on top at Wembley on Saturday, we’ll need plenty of that – and a good Xhaka performance as well.

Fingers crossed.

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Sunmolar

Just do it…..on Saturday

Mentally Drained Gooner

Not a big fan of Xhaka but a big fan of his attitude!!

Johnny 4 Hats

He ate a hat?

Naked Cygan

I am not a fan either, and agree his attitude and performances have improved under Arteta. The problem is that he is not a top 4 quality player, and very average. He doesn’t score much, doesn’t get many assist, doesn’t really stand out in many games. 8 cant think of many games where I was like “wow” he was amazing. At best he is a 7/10 and on average a 6/10 player. Nothing special. Now saying all that, he is one of our best midfielders right now, with Ceballos. That should tell you that ouf midfield is extremely weak.

Jeremy DG

I’d Guendouzi had half the mental strength and attitude of this guy he’d be a world beater. But he doesn’t, so he likely won’t be.

TOGooner

Ok, enough of this Guendouzi bashing. I don’t like him as the type of player but that’s a person preference and not a judgement on him as a footballer. I don’t like his attitude either although what Xhaka did earlier this season (as our captain and a player 7 years Matteo’s senior) was less excusable. But Matteo got called up to his national team as a 20 year old on the basis his incredible performance in the NLD. It’s his mental strength that makes him a world beater, not this talent. He doesn’t shy away, and end of the day… Read more »

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Guendouzi is a teenager. If he actually comes to training late, that would be a problem. But all the other things, we’ve heard may be expected from a teenager. Portuguese Pepe had a very long career with Real and Cantona with Man U. Wenger supported RVP when he was accused and arrested. Did Matteo do anything close to that?

Daveo

Mateo Guendouzi is a teenager until the day he turns 20, then he becomes in his twenties, but until that day happens he remains a teenager. Except that that day happened 443 days ago, so he is no longer a teenager and is actually in his twenties.

Santori

I’m not sure why people are bashing Guendouzi. he is young and impetuous but clearly a talent and IMO slightly better than Willock. IMO we need to be rational with handling him. I don’t think the club is doing the right thing selling him on. We should be loaning him for the year, let him play somewhere-else and develop. If he gets game time and impresses then we either sell on at a higher price or cycle him back into midfield. If he doesn’t play as much as he thinks he should, then reality check for him and hopefully he… Read more »

Warthog

The top teams in the world clearly disagree on him being a very good player as do I. He is bang average and not Top 6 material. Sell now before he devalues any further and let someone else have the headache of trying to improve him.

Tasmanian Jesus

The thing is, Pepe, Cantona and RVP still listened enough to the manager to make sure they fulfilled what he was asking, as footballplayers.
Guendouzi on the other hand, shone a bit under Emery (imo because everyone else sucked). But has failed to improve, or even stay at his previous level, under Arteta (also probably because the other players have improved and are showing what they’re actually worth now).

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Laca hasn’t improved under Arteta. It is an entirely different problem.

Warthog

You nailed it Tas. He hasn’t improved at all and he is ill suited for the structured tactical system of play that Arteta is implementing because of his woeful positional awareness.

Looney

I really don’t get this Guendouzi bashing. The guy is clearly talented. You don’t expect a 20 year old raw talent to consistently give you 8/10. He still needs to develop further. Give this guy time. I remember it wasn’t too long ago that he was being touted as a future captain. Wasn’t he even nominated as one of the top 20 young footballers in the world? We sure have short memories. Simply because someone had a few 6/10 games and displayed an impetuous character, a character a part of the fanbase have been calling for, he has suddenly become… Read more »

Greg in Seattle

I’m happy he’s ranked as a top-20 under-20 player. Easy for journalists to put him on that list due to game time with a big club, and maybe it’ll lead to a decent fee. But, those Arsenal fans who watch the games know he’s the product of circumstances (a weak midfield batch) and a golden-boy annointment from failed manager. I suspect his rating is crap with clubs that have a scouting network. Sell him on now while his rep is still greater than reality.

Magneto

For all intents and purposes, Xhaka is the real Arsenal Captain in all but name.

Gus Caesar

He is. I wonder how long it will be before he has the arm band back? Time’s a great healer and nobody can fault his attitude since the Palace sh!tstorm. Xhaka also looks to have undergone a Mustafi-esque improvement under Arteta – he goes to ground less and generally keeps his head more.

Santori

That’s one thing commendable with Arteta that he has by and large improved what he has. BUT there are still other areas that have not gone as well. Fundamentally team still lacks one or two technical players with experience further up the pitch to fully retain and carry the ball in congestion. In terms of midfield, some players have not quite fleshed out as hoped. Torreira nicks the ball off players a lot and is useful but isn’t quite the player to control midfield many foolishly thought he was. Willock is willing and commendable but still in some ways raw… Read more »

Dave cee

I.ve seen Khedira mentioned several times. I love Sami as a player, he would have been excellent for us at any time over the last decade, but, he has big injury problems and is essentially finished I’m sorry to say.

jbbbb

khedira is the new emre can

Mr Hamzo

Let’s just forget about guendouzi and focus on tomorrow’s victory gunners 4 ever

Santori

We need the win for sure. No point talking about additions of quality if we don’t help ourselves with a Europa spot.

It would be a good vote of confidence for Arteta. Otherwise reality is we are in 8th in league which is not much of an improvement over Emery.

Francesc

A good xhaka performance is unfortunately, of no good.

Santori

One of the players who has really taken onboard Arteta’s input. Ditto his compatriot in midfield Ceballos. Last match, saw a bit more short interplay between the two, they need to find a way to constructively move up the pitch with simple one twos. we have struggled at times to transition quickly from defensive posture to attack. This will be critical against Chelsea and we have opportunity considering they will cede space and come at us. We have traditionally struggled more against clubs that sit tight and choke our passing lines. And this is where we need an upgrade in… Read more »

Santori

Our midfield (and entire team)also has to be wary not to give away any free kicks around the box. Mount is lethal from that distance. Xhaka has been tremendously discipline and will be again key for us. He has worked on ball retention and movement to receive the ball. Another issue we will have to be aware of is if we play back 3, then who to play on left of defense. Kolasinac is slightly less diligent but has the height and power where Tierney can be punished. And we know they will play either of Abrahams or an in… Read more »

Hi-brid

I might be a bit old fashioned, but I still kind of wish he had just once apologised for telling the fans to fuck off, or at least admitted that he shouldn’t have done it but was wound up at the time or whatever. Rankles a bit that he never really drew a line under that whole episode. Just an acknowledgement would have done really. Not that I hold grudges or anything…

Tasmanian Jesus

To me, what he has done in performance and attitude since then, is apology enough.
The way the fans treated him then, I dont’t think I would have acted any different than he did.

Looney

I agree with you. He said something like, ‘I hope the fans have learned too’. It’s almost as if he’s saying, ‘I did what I did because of the fans and I don’t regret any of it. I just wish he could deliver a really sincere apology. If there’s a way back for such a player, there’s certainly a way back for anyone with the right attitude (looking at you Guendouzi)

Vonnie'

Get over yourself and move on. Every fan who booed should also have issued an apology.

PGunner

Got a lot of time for Xhaka, he seems a good guy who just let a sensitive situation get the better of him (mostly Emery’s fault imo) but has fronted up since. Good man!

Paul

When he did lose his head it was during a period where Arsenal were seriously floundering. Perhaps his rash was in no small part due to an over eagerness to put things right. He’s a very good player, maybe not at the very best level. Possibly a rung below it . We had many like that over the years like Davis parlour edu and silva. very good but not at say a petit Fabregas Viera Merson level, yet all won trophies and contributed to many fine trophy winning campaigns. I’d love to see him go on and achieve that level… Read more »