Granit Xhaka’s second half screamer sealed a hard-fought 3-1 win for Arsenal against Manchester United and afforded the midfielder a rare moment to lap up the plaudits from the Emirates Stadium faithful.
For the second time in a week, the Switzerland international produced a fine performance in the centre of the park and his celebration in front of the hardcore supporters in Block D underlined just how much relations have thawed after years of frostiness.
Having persuaded Xhaka to stay at the club following his public spat with fans, Arteta admits he’s delighted at the way things have turned around.
“I was dreaming of that because he deserves it,” said Arteta in his post-game press conference.
“If every fan was spending individually, five or ten minutes with Granit, or two minutes, it’s enough, they would understand the person that he is, the professional that he is and how much he cares about the club.”
In a recent interview with The Players’ Tribune, Xhaka said he’d love to have a closer relationship with the Arsenal fanbase but made clear it’s not something he expects given everything that’s happened in the past.
The love shown to him today suggests he might get his wish after all.
“The history [with the fans] was there and I would say he made a risky move when he opened up completely, where he expressed his feelings but, as well,” said Arteta.
“He’s done that because he feels the environment he’s in is going to protect him, he’s feels loved at the club, and the response, I think it was great, so thank you as well for the fans to show that appreciation to him because I know how much it means to him.”
On a tense afternoon in N5, there was a moment when the terraces nearly turned on Nuno Tavares. The 22-year-old left-back, against deputising for the injured Kieran Tierney, got off to a flyer by opening the scoring – his first goal for the club – but he looked shaky after the break, giving away a penalty and then conceded possession on a number of occasions.
It looked like substituting him might be the sensible move but Arteta introduced Gabriel Martinelli for Emile Smith Rowe, switched shape and he seemed to calm down a little.
“We have to help him,” said Arteta. “He needs to go through these experiences to understand, what triggers that moment when you go from here [high] to there [low]. We need to give him support.
“I’ve said many times, it’s the bill that you have to pay with these players who’ve never experienced this [pressure].
“They are going to make mistakes and they are going to make decisions that from here, it’s very easy to say ‘why have you done that?’ But they are on the pitch, let’s give them support because they need it.”
Go on Granit!!! So great to see the lad starting to come good. And really good at that….
I remember when he first arrived and scored some screamers from way, way out. Every time he got the ball we’d be shouting “Shoot! Shoot!” Poor Wenger was not best pleased…nearly having heart attacks.
Wenger did that with every player who could shoot from range. It was the same with Rosicky and Vermaelen. He ground it out of them.
Nothing shakes up our play like a good long range shot every now and again
Fair play to the lad. Fair play to him.
I was one of his most vocal critics – but he has worked his socks off, kept his head down and regained my respect.
Cracking goal today but, just as impressive and impressive, has been his commitment and application.
He and Elneny are now going to be absolutely vital during this run in.
Let’s all hope they can stay fit.
Elneny was amazing
Arteta should keep him and give him more game time
He works tirelessly
Dribbles and moves the ball forward
Tavares has to improve on his defensive skills
He has to track his opponents
Mistake against Chelsea scoring the 2nd goal is unacceptable
Elneny should stay and in my opinion he played better than partley
Arteta has helped Mo become more progressive in his passing. I see him as always being a safer type player. Arteta improves players in most situations.
*impressive and important
The way MA understands the game and the pressures that come with playing for a big club is really exemplary these kids are in good hands. Nuno will learn alot from this game also kinda makes sense why he opted for Granit at LB
Yes, although in retrospect it looks like Arteta has regretted that decision, and has been trying to build Tavares back up. I hope it works out for Tavares because we need Xhaka in the middle, and no matter how admirably he’s willing to play there, Xhaka is not a left back.
Agree totally mate.
When I see Holding getting ready to come on with with that smile of his, my heart rate drops. He’s the reason I have survived multiple heart attacks in a crazy rollercoaster season. We’re so lucky to have him, our FA cup hero, an Arsene Wenger signing from Bolton, he’s an Arsenal man and it says something that we extended his contract and got rid of Mari Chambers etc.
I just wish he knew how much I… We love him.
Yeah, count me in there too!
Great hairline as well Scwibble, what’s not to like.
Xhaka for all his limitations that are beyond him physically or attribute wise just has elite mentality.
Tavares needs to do the simple things right. Concentration. Then he can kick on.
Delighted for Xhaka as, despite the unacceptable professionalism as captain (not to mention the catalogue of errors), he puts everything into every game.
Really nice for Nuno to get a goal and his mistakes not punished. The lucky breaks today went our way for the first time in ages.
Another statement win. COYG
I can’t remember the exact quote, but back in the day Wenger said something about having to accept that playing youngsters will sometimes cost you points as they learn. Feels like Arteta is saying something similar about Tavares here.
I’d like to thank Bruno Fernandes for the penalty as well.
What a horrible little cunt he is. Makes John Terry look almost half human.
SS….. scum saviour
I can’t remember a more electric, stisfying four days than these four. Beating Chelsea on form was amazing and hammering a rubbish United side was like a lovely bananas Foster. And really glad Tavares didn’t blow out his knee with his sliding celly.
Somebody should tell them to stop doing the knee stuff. It makes me uncomfortable.🙄
Interesting how a toxic club like Utd have thrown old and young under the bus, with their fans gleefully shafting themselves.
We are better than that …… way way better.
Bravo Mikel for your support of players through thick and thin.
Post match I see a lot of Man U fans who can’t understand why Ronaldo hasn’t turned things around for them. As if he was going to be the magic bullet that cured all their ills. It’s funny.
We did it to Wenger, Xhaka and the team… if we are better it is incremental.
The curious case of Nuno Tavares…😜
He had a non-catastrophic game elevated by a fun goal, but if we don’t replace him with a new first choice and a new rotation central midfielder in the summer, we’ll regret it.
I’d be very happy to keep Mo Elneny though – maybe not inspiring, but always dialled in and just temperamentally much easier to get behind.
Not a fan of Kieran Tierney then?
“He had a non-catastrophic game elevated by a fun goal”
He had a man of the match performance capped off by a crucial goal. At least be factual when criticising our players.
MoTM based on what? Just the goal or did you see something else special about what he was doing yesterday? I saw a great goal, some alright passing and a stupid yellow when the game was still in the balance. The fact that that was a good day by his standards says a lot.
Here you go:
You can read the section that is titled “GRANIT XHAKA IS IMMENSE”.
Your referring to it as a a “non-catastrophic game elevated by a fun goal” is based on what? Certainly not fact.
Did your bias not let you see anything that Xhaka did well? Also, lovely of you to grasp at straws about the yellow card to support your blinkered opinion – that was a lovely touch.
PS – MoTM performance is based on a comparison to the team, not a comparison of a single player based on their previous performances.
I’ve watched him for six years, two of which I was willing to make excuses for him. If you think I’m just having a go for the sake of it … short of re-capping years of sub-standard play (and stroppy behaviour), much of which has been captured in match reports that I’m sure we can both find links for, I’m not sure what I can do. The basic patterns – bad/static positioning, poor discipline, passable passing (you’d think this club had never seen a decent midfielder passer pre-2016) and the occasional goal – are consistent, including yesterday. Odegaard was my… Read more »
The truth is he had a really good game.
Having said that I really don’t get the down votes.
Are there fans that feel that Xhaka can improve?
Or maybe a reversed question in which top 4 team since he came he would have been a starter?
Me thinks none.
Would he be a starter for a top 3 club? Probably not. But he’s a nailed on starter for the 4th placed club, as shown by the fact that the last CL spot is ours for the taking and he is one of the first on the team sheet.
I’d much rather have Xhaka at CM than the version of Pogba that plays for Man U, or whichever inanimate carbon rod plays in that position for Sp*rs.
It was a good day by anybody’s standards. He’s been excellent since his return from injury and as always has one of the best forward passing ratios of any player in the Premier League. You obviously have an agenda against one of our key players
Hopefully having Tomi back can take the pressure of Nuno a bit, maybe Cedric can deputise at left back for a bit and Nuno can come on later in games? Cedric is another I wrote off after a few games but he’s done well while Tomi’s been out.
Had it not been a low bid by Roma last season he wouldn’t be here, a marmite player to fans who looks like Rolls Royce when playing for Switzerland and a bit Ford Focus with us, that saying when he’s out of the side we miss him in mid and his leadership, ok he makes a few rash challenges but isnt that the committed area you need to be, time from some to get off his back..
Every team needs a Ford Focus (think Milner at Liverpool and City). CMs that glue the best sides together often don’t need to be the flashiest, albeit we would benefit from some greater consistency from Xhaka in terms of discipline and reliability. I feel he will still be a very important player for us next season, even with Partey back fit and Lokonga in his second season.
About time the cretin fans realise the worth of this player. They are constantly perplexing themselves as to why successive managers keep picking him. I’ve persistantly pointed out that : 1) He is a passionate player which is his weakness when he lets things get out of control but also his strength when many prefer to moan about a lack of fight 2) He transitions us quickly in midfield particularly bc of his range of passing. Effectively, he drops into the left slot as a quarterback to use an Americanism 3) He also allows us to pivot and switch flanks… Read more »
It’s not the fans that were the problem, it was the executive team and their squad building and tactics.
Playing Xhaka with Ramsey and Özil in a 4-2-3-1 is essentially playing him as a 6 in a 4-1-4-1. It was suicide. He didn’t have a manager that successfully fitted him into a suitable midfield unit with effective tactical instructions… until Mikel showed up. Thats speaks volumes of Arteta (and Edu) as much as Wenger, Gazidis, Sanllehi, and Emery.
Thank you for pointing out an obvious fact that so many of us tend to gloss over. 🙌🏽
Hi. At the point when you’re typing “cretin fans”, you may want to pause and read the comment policy – https://arseblog.news/comment-policy/ . And then not do it. Have a good one.
I was there at that Palace game, and I was one of the people cheering sarcastically that proviked him to throw the armband. The thing is, and I can only speak for myself, it was because Emery had set up at home to Palace to sit in and soak up pressure. And when they got a couple of goals to go 2-2, and Emery brought Saka off the bench it was a sarcastic cheer to sat ‘well done boss, you are going to try and attack a lesser team at home!’ Meant no disrespect to Xhaka, been a big supporter… Read more »
… and yet his reaction was to go balistic, tell you to fuck off, and throw the captain’s armband on the ground, and stomp off like an angry toddler.
He probably did mean disrespect.
Sorry, I wasn’t his biggest hater either, but since that moment, I couldn’t give a shit if he scores a hat trick every game, he’s not changing my mind.
If Arteta had any respect for the captaincy, the fans, or the club, Xhaka would never have played for Arsenal again.
Maybe whats annoys people about the Granit is the fact he is THE most like us.
Punting the ball into the crowd out of frustration for his yellow was the perfect example. Couldnt help but smile
this is spot on. “we criticize most in others the things we recognize and dislike about ourselves” -Carl Jung (paraphrased perhaps)
Tavares will be like Nacho. He’ll come good; he certainly has the potential – scoring will help him start to settle down.
But Xhaka!!! Pure magic, old school Arsenal with his red hot passion.
Saka = Braveheart, gotta love him.