Saturday, June 15, 2024

Arteta provides Xhaka update as AFCON headache looms

Mikel Arteta says Granit Xhaka is doing everything he can to return from his knee injury ahead of schedule.

The Switzerland international suffered knee ligament damage in last month’s north London derby and isn’t expected to play again until the turn of the year.

Having avoided surgery, the midfielder is already back working in the gym as he looks to shorten his spell on the sidelines.

“With Granit, I don’t know, but I’m sure that if you tell him three [months], he will be thinking two [months],” said Arteta ahead of Monday’s game with Crystal Palace.

“He will be trying to do extra work to try to minimise that time, that’s for sure.

“We have to do it in the right way because it’s a significant injury and we want to have him back properly when he can.”

You can certainly understand why Arteta is wary of any setbacks. Should Xhaka’s return be delayed into 2022, the Gunners face a shortage of midfielders at a busy time of year.

As things stand, Thomas Partey and Mo Elneny, in addition to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe, are due to head to the African Cup of Nations which starts in Cameroon on 9 January. With players expected to arrive for national team training camps before their first games, some could be out of action for up to a month.

Asked about the situation, Arteta said: “Let’s see where we are at that point, which players we have available and which players definitely have to be there and for how long, because there are some question marks there as well.

“We will find a solution. If they have to leave, they have to leave. We’ll have to find the right replacements for them.”

While Sambi Lokonga and Ainsley Maitland-Niles can fill in, it’s possible we may need to venture into the transfer market yet again.

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We need him back soon.

Johnny 4 Hats

Apparently not. We’ll be just fine with Ainsley and Sambi when Partey goes away…

I dearly love gooners. But sometimes they are fucking mental.


We look pretty threadbare with those absentees.


That midfield two is that of a championship club. It’s not “fine.”

Cranky Colin


Man Manny

Tottenham away, Burnley home, Wolves away and Chelsea are the 4 EPL games the quartet would miss if their countries reach the business end of AFCON.
Of the 4, Wolves and Burnley can be safely navigated without them.
The other two are a bit worrisome: we would need a full house to stand a chance of getting points from them.


Safely navigated looolz. We haven’t navigated anything safely since the Villa Cup Final


That NLD looked quite decently navigated to me.


The AFCON’s schedule is just crazy. Wenger spent his entire time at Arsenal calling for a rational international football schedule to minimize overlaps and disruptions. You’d think the FA’s love of bureaucracy would find a solution for this.

The G

In the summer some African countries to hot to host a soccer tournament. Just some FYI as to why Afcon hosted this time of the year.

Man Manny

That is not accurate, I must say.
Summer in Africa is November to February.
June to August is in the middle of the rainy season in most of Africa, and a football tournament is not ideal then.


This is also inaccurate. Africa is divided almost equally by the equator and so Summer theoretically could occur in May-August or Nov-Jan.

However, most African countries that are willing/able to host a tournament (North and West Africa) are in the Northern hemisphere where the hottest times of the year occur in the traditional months.

Man Manny

All West African countries have their summer months between November and February.
I live in Nigeria FYI


You may live in Nigeria but I can tell you technically your ‘summer’ is June-July-August, because you’re north of the equator. You may have dry hot weather during the November to February period, but I suspect it’s the ‘dry’.
As a result, I can see why the ACON is in January.


The issue, really, is that we don’t summer or winter in West Africa (and most parts of Africa). What we have are ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ seasons.

Dry season is between November and February. This is the suitable time to play football, away from the rains.


I get that. Just never understood why that continental tournament is held every 2 years when others held every four 🤷


Two replies : For a long time it’s all we had. Half the world cup is European teams and we only had 3 slots for 52 countries so realistically it’s the only tournament so every two years you are guaranteed to see England, Germany, Spain play an international tournament as well Secondly African winters and summers are not the same. Southern Africa and Nothern Africa go into those seasons at opposite times. Southern Africa rarely hosts it so mainly it’s a combination of three things: The Summer months are hot in the Nothern part of the continent and at the… Read more »


Majority of leagues around the world don’t coincide with the european calendar

Kyle C-Asamoah

Some like it hot!


And now Wenger supports World Cups every two years though, which is disappointing


But if you read his proposal more closely, you’ll see that he’s trying to reduce the international disruption of domestic leagues. These international breaks are brutal. We’ve been lucky so far this season, but usually they result in at least one or two significant injuries to our squad, and they always, guaranteed, increase the heavy workload of our best players. Organize qualifying tournaments when the season is over, and give back the 6-8 weeks to the PL season — it can thereby finish earlier or start later so that the international players can find some rest. I mean, the prizes… Read more »

Manu petits left peg

Papa wengz has gone off the deep end abit at the moment… That word cup thing is his Igor stepanovs moment and Ray Parlour must be in the back off egging him on


Stepanovs when banter and having a laugh goes too far. Seriously fellas you may have been laughing then but it weren’t funny when we were hammered at Old Trafford.


I’ll assume you haven’t actually read his proposal and just the “world cup every 2 years” red-top/outrage headlines.

It’s actually quite sensible and looks to make international football more meaningful and interesting, whilst reducing the huge distruption it currently causes to all domestic leagues.

Since that’s my bigges gripe about international football, how it fucks up my watching of the Arsenal with the most dull and pointless international qualifiers and the like, I think it’s a fantastic move.

I can see why traditionalists are against it though, however I think some sort of major international football shakeup is well overdue.


Anyone who follows Wenger realizes that 95% of the time he is light years ahead of 99% of us when football is involved.

Brady’s bunch

One thing you can count on is that Arsene has studied the for and against and is not acting on a whim. International football has lost so much ground over the years to club football that personally I think it’s becoming irrelevant. For me it wouldn’t bother me if it went to every two years or every ten years the whole national pride thing at tournaments brings out the worst in a certain cohort of supporters and lose’s my interest in watching it.


Can’t see us going into the transfer market for a DM just because of AFCON. Even in the very unlikely event that Xhaka, AMN and Sambi were all unavailable, I’d imagine that both White and Chambers would step into midfield as they’ve both played there before.


Where’s Kim kallstrom when you need him?

A Different George

Isn’t he training with Jack?


Yeah he is covering for Jack who has nipped out for a crafty smoke 🚬


Where I agree its unlikely, I also feel we badly need to get in a new CM/DMF in Jan.
By July its almost certain Elneny and AMN are leaving. Why not prepare for their departures while at the same time coving our lack of depth in Jan due to Afcon?


While I tend to agree, I hope we will be targeting a rather good player in midfield (+ maybe a backup/internal addition), so it might be difficult to lure that calibre of player mid-season (particularly without Europe).


Gabon aren’t expexted to go far but Ghana, Egypt and the Ivory Coast could go all the way. Bad for us.
I hope no one from Gabon gets upset, it’s just an observation.


Notoriously Players don’t always take the quickest route back from Africa so add on a few extra days plus who knows what restrictions these days.


They are more professional and clubs fly some of them directly these days. Plus advancement in communication.

I loved the good old days when the “stars from Europe ” played the AFCON then “got lost” for a week after due to “poorly scheduled flights, bad arrangements from their FAs or they had contracted malaria ” when in reality they were visiting every relatives in the cities and villages, eating and drinking themselves silly. Sadly can’t get that anymore. You will be found out immediately you post a “sweg” with local brew


Man are you funny!😂😂😂


In addition to any time spent on tournament proper, the players might have to quarantine when they are back.


Maybe we could get Wenger to organise a World Cup this winter? Then the league would have to stop until we got the players back.




Is there anyone here with a background in physiotherapy or with significant injury experience who can explain the mechanism by which Xhaka can apparently work his way into faster recovery?

I would think that if all it took was “to do extra work,” presumably at the gym, most footballers would be doing it.

The Beast

I would assume that as he doesn’t need surgery it may just be a matter of strengthening the area around the damaged ligament?

But I’m not a physio, so I could be talking complete bullshit


This is an interesting strategy by the medical team. They are obviously versed in treatment (despite us all questioning why we always get so many injuries), but the non-surgical strategy is risky. This is obviously a hefty MCL strain/tear: the time line (2-3 months) suggests quite a bad or grade 3 tear. Here is a link to a study that concludes empirically that the non-surgical approach results in a greater chance of subsequently tearing your ACL in the same knee:,year%20patient%2Dreported%20knee%20function.


Somebody deeply cynical – like me – might suggest it’s a sign that the team views Xhaka as a short-term, rather than a long-term solution.

Wrighty's hats

A bit late to this party but wanted to reply to your comment Daveo. That article you mentioned only studied people who have had an ACL injury, which went on to be reconstructed, plus a medial or lateral collateral ligament injury. It shows in the population they studied (ACL reconstruction + MCL or LCL injury) that non-surgical management of the medial collateral ligament injury has a higher likelihood of requiring revision of the ACL reconstruction. I believe Xhaka has an isolated medial collateral ligament injury – correct me if I’m wrong – so that study doesn’t apply to his situation.… Read more »


I was.

Diaby's Left Peg

Look at Nasri and compare him to Ronaldo, not all footballers are prepared to do the extra work…

For all his faults Xhaka sounds like a good trainer.


See Nasri this week?


Wouldn’t it be an idea to synchronize the AFCON with the winter break in Europe to minimize disruption and turn the whole of the footballing world eyes on Africa’s showpiece.


The AFCON is synchronised with the off season in African league football. Why should it be moved to a time that interferes with leagues in Africa to protect European clubs from losing one to 3 players at a time?


I have to point out that My beloved Kaizer chiefs (yes I predict a riot!) season in South Africa (my ancestral home) run like in Europe we are 6 games in. And the African champions League runs November -July for a summer climax. The championships are played so frequently as they are a great revenue maker for the the African football associations, they also provide great exposure for the African talent which is not always easy to scout at club level across the respective leagues. The pride we take in our exports to Europe and prestige they bring our continent… Read more »


Up the Bucs! ☠️ 😜

Lord Bendnter

Regardless of his talent limitations and player profile, we cannot deny his dedication and hard work. He does always give it all on the pitch


BISSOUMA !!! (no, he refuses to play for his national team) 💪🏿


Not so sure about that now


I think it would be easier to get our current players released from international duty than bissouma released from his rapey prison cell.


An ironic s.o.s bro


… regarding kallstrom


We need him back when AFCON comes around sure. If he isn’t, I hope we give a chance to Patino.


A Swedish midfielder with a broken back this January?


Apart from the latter stages of the World Cup, Internationals are usually a tedious procession that ruins the season. We have few enough Arsenal games this season, but this is just another chance for our players to either get sidelined with COVID or an injury.

Dave Roberts

Thomas Partey is the most important player in the team.


Really? We are suddenly going to jump into a transfer to cover us for 4-6 weeks of AFCON. Are you joking?

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