Friday, September 30, 2022

“It’s a shame I only have two years more” – Xhaka buoyed by Arsenal progress

Granit Xhaka has joked it’s a shame his Arsenal contract ends in two years because he thinks the club is really going places.

While the Switzerland international has had one foot out of the door on more than one occasion, he’s now one of the longest-serving members of the Gunners’ first team.

What’s more, he’s also feeling the love from supporters who found him a prickly character even before his public meltdown in October 2019.

Facing questions from various outlets on a media day to promote the second tranche of Amazon’s ‘All or Nothing’ documentary series, the 29-year-old even pinpointed his goal in April’s 3-1 win over Manchester United as a career highlight.

“It was maybe one of the greatest moments since signing for this club,” he explained.

“Everyone now knows what happened three years ago. Sitting here three years later and to say this was one of the greatest moments, three years ago I would have said this would never, ever happen.

“But I feel much more love from the fans, from my side as well. I am trying to build something with them again. It needs time, for sure, but I have the feeling that we are in a good way, for sure.”

He added: “With Rob Holding and Hector [Bellerin], I think I’m the only guy here from six or seven years ago, everyone else is new here.

“On one side, that makes me very proud. On the other side, you have to know the other players as well.

“We are building something very special here with the project with Mikel [Arteta] and stuff like this.

“It’s a shame I only have two years more on my contract. Let’s see what happens after two years, but I am seeing a big, big future for this club.”

It’s nice to hear that Granit is happy and settled. Given the esteem with which he’s held inside the dressing room, it’s important.

We definitely thought it was interesting that Odegaard handed him the armband when he was substituted at the tail-end of the Palace game.

That didn’t happen last season.

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Thierry Ennui

Xhaka be trollin’

Qwaliteee

Nah.

Graham

Think you meant to say “xhaka be rollin”

Johnny 4 Hats

Let’s be honest, who has been an outstanding player for us in the last 6 years? The fact you can just about name two or three at a push shows just how shitty our recent sides have been. I totally get his frustration. Finally he’s been given a great CM pairing and the club have recruited well and have a very promising manager and his journey is coming to an end. I’ve come full circle on Granit (yes, you are allowed to modify your opinion, contrary to popular opinion) and I would keep him at the club as much as… Read more »

Merlin’s Panini

In the last six years a lot of players have been outstanding, however not any of them have been for a sustained period and that’s been the biggest problem. We have had a lot of expensive dross as well of course. It’s kind of a miracle Xhaka is still here given how much shit he’s taken from us, although some of it was deserved. As he says though, it’s a relationship potentially on the mend and it speaks to his character that he’s stayed. A weaker person would walk away and forever be bitter. I really hope these next two… Read more »

Dr Zebra

I’m glad for him and the club that us fans are finally accepting him and showing our support. We should always do that! But I understand the frustration us fans have felt towards him for the rash challenges and silky decisions during his time with us. Sadly, it’s due to our misguided expectations of him being a DM when he never was. And the frustration we had with Emery and Raul and the Kroenkes ultimately fell onto Granit as being chosen as our captain. Looks like as we’re showing sings of recovery from that era of bad decisions, we’re all… Read more »

Johnny 4 Hats

All players need managing. And Wenger really hung him out to dry all alone in that DCM role. He then became the lighting rod for all things bad in a terrible Emery side. He was the only leader in that side (even Emery didn’t feel much like a leader) and he paid the ultimate price. Look, I’m not saying he will be a perfect player from here on in. There will be the odd red card and he will lose the ball a few times in really dangerous positions. But if we’d bought him at the start of the 20/21… Read more »

Graham

When he played with cazorla about 5 times in 2016 he looked great. That may have said more about cazorla though tbf.

Danny

Fair enough. I like the man and he has a wand of a left foot and seems happy to play wherever asked. However, it was only last year that he threw things away against city with a ridiculous penalty conceded. If he can cut that nonsense out of his game them I hope he stays. If not, he’s too much of a liability in the big games in my opinion.

Goonshow

I have to say, J4, you have somewhat convinced me (not an easy task!). A Gooner for over 50 years, I’ve seen some beauts come ‘n go, but the flinging of the armband really tipped me against him. Particularly since I felt he had earned little leeway up to that point, with the on-field brainfarts and reds, etc. That said – I am also a firm advocate of the ‘there is stuff we fans can never know, so defer to those who handle the players on a daily basis’ school. And so, I am swayed into the positive -given his… Read more »

Nate K

Yessss

Paul

Hear hear!

Sagebrush

About time Johnny. Yes he has his faults and like you say I would want to believe it was partly because of the sides he was picked in.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

People always talk about Xhaka being a leader on and off the pitch. What good is that when he’s constantly shown us the opposite of being a leader, and cost the team many points? Yes last season was a better, but imo still not good enough. I’m all for backing him now that he actually looks decent, but Arsenal fans need to stop pretending that he’s better than what he actually is. He’s been lucky that he joined the worst Arsenal team for decades, because there’s no way he would ever get into any other team, supposedly chasing a top… Read more »

Bongogooner

Real shame … 🖕WANKERS🖕

Time to move on but he still is kind of important to our team. Kind of…

Funsho Patrick

Faithful servant albeit controversial and limited…played his best in the last one year…an excellent player for squad depth in the long run.

Kris

Agreed – it’s been proven to be the right decision to have kept him and signed the contract extension after Roma refused to pay c. £15m last summer. Hard to believe any of us would have been saying that after he checked out of the 5-0 City defeat shortly after… Naturally because of his established limitations he’s never going to be the right man for a team that’s going to win the Prem or the Champions League, but I don’t think any of us realistically think we’re going to be at that level for the next few years, so he’s… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Two more years? He probably won’t win a title with Arsenal this season.

But next season, I reckon we’ll be on course to challenge properly, so who knows?

For him to sign off with a Premiership Winners medal would be the perfect ending to an incredible turnaround.

Merlin’s Panini

Europa League is a very achievable target this season. We’re on the way up. Anyone who drops down from the Champions League into that competition is on the reverse trajectory. The only teams that could trouble us would be Prem teams, the top three in Spain or PSG should any of them fail to progress but we would have momentum in that case.

Qwaliteee

Yep, we’re more than capable of winning it.

It’s about time this club had that UEFA Cup – that’s what the Europa is to me – same trophy, original name.

Merlin’s Panini

I always have to check myself too. Always want to write UEFA Cup. Same with the League Cup. I always think of it as the CocaCola Cup.

Emi Rates

I think it was Blogs himself who named it the Cucaracha Cup.

Runcorn Gooner

Have to say he really is a Marmite character.
Bit of a legend with the “IFTWGX” comments.

Merlin’s Panini

The what comments?

PeteyB

If (F?) That Was Granit Xhaka
Maybe we’re expected to give an exasperated shout the first word before trailing off?
IF that was Granit Xhaka

Merlin’s Panini

Oh yeah ha. Doesn’t exactly stick in the brain that acronym.

Merlin’s Panini

I wonder if there’s any correlation between people who love Marmite and people who love Granit Xhaka and vice versa.

Vonnie

Love Granit Xhaka, hopefully he’s here for at least a successful 2 years.

El Mintero

Granit is still the captain of this club. And rightly so.

Qwaliteee

And you have the front to tell me that I’m deluded….😂

Nzini

Definitely.Liked how Martinelli celebrated that goal with him

Teryima Adi

The quintessential professional 👊🏾💪🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

SarcasmB0T

Professionals don’t tell their clients to fuck off.
Primadonnas do.

Temidayo

That’s a lie. Professionals make mistakes too.

Der32

Not quintessential ones.

Qwaliteee

No.

Human beings tell fellow ignorant/abusive human beings to fuck off.

End of.

Martin R

Decent supporters don’t send him abusive Twitter messages including wishing his daughter had cancer. His anger was totally understandable

Der32

Most supporters did not abuse him or his family on social media, but found his reaction on the pitch offensive. This is totally understandable too.

Qwaliteee

I was at that game with my kids and initially found his actions to be over the top. Then I learned about the tweets, the death threats and other sundry cases of abusive and suddenly it was no longer an Arsenal player issue, but a human rights issue. He has since shown great maturity and strength of character to come back from that. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to go AWOL and instruct your agent to find you another club. He chose not to. He didn’t take the easy path but the fucking hard one.… Read more »

SarcasmB0T

See, my issue is he didn’t tell the twitter assholes to fuck off – he told your kids to fuck off.
It’s that he couldn’t tell the difference between online abuse, which is unacceptable, and criticism of his play and on-pitch conduct, which is part of football.
I don’t mind the blow up. I mind that he didn’t – hasn’t – realized that he was lashing out at the wrong target and apologized.
It’s not the temper I can’t get over. It’s the ego.

Vonnie

Oh fuck off.

LoonyLeftie

Because you would have behaved differently. Right.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

rubbish.

Qwaliteee

Mate – the guy was low, he was telling the whole world to fuck off – he’d reached the end of his tether – and in public. That must have been awful. And given what he was going through, I now understand that he wasn’t having a pop at my kids – he was having a pop at those people in the stadium who were dishing out the abuse – and there were quite a few of them. He was being made a scapegoat for the team’s poor performances, he was unhappy and he was frustrated. He needed support and… Read more »

Goonshow

Reading first Q’s, and then Sarc’s comments above, it strikes me that this – more than anything – is the essence of Granit… the fallible hero who’s frustrates the crap out you, eats all the cookies and always picks up the fullest glass, but it the only one you’d had standing next to you in that trench.
Marmite definitely. But then again, our marmite.

Der32

There’s a stat going around that Cristiano Ronaldo is the most abused player on Twitter. Other Man U players also seem to be high on the list. Xhaka got his fair share of abuse online, and none of them are justified. But his actions on the pitch are also unjustified, unless you deem him not cognitively fit to tell the difference between online abuse and supporters in the stadium. He played a stinker of a match and got subbed. For me, his reactions were unbecoming no matter how you look at it. I still cheer for him, he’s an important… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Has it occurred to you that he may have been having a stinker of a match because of the emails and tweets he was getting?

The dude is a human being, not a piece of wood.

Martin R

He’s always shown total loyalty to Arsenal and has always given 100%. That incident was in the heat of the moment after the abuse he received. Surely he can be given a little leniency. He’s never been disruptive like some players have and has never complained about being moved into different positions even when they haven’t suited him.

Vin_unleaded

He reacted the way he did because people were throwing abuse at him. Fully understandable.

Der32

You mean abuse online? Or on the pitch? Let’s not conflate the two.

Qwaliteee

Why?

He was getting both . Before and after the substitute incident.

Abuse is abuse is abuse. Online or otherwise.

Tankard Gooner

Everyone makes mistakes. Some big, some small. But sensible people learn from those mistakes and Granit has looked like he’s putting in the effort to build the bridges again.

Rossarhvin

Get over it already. Maybe the fans need to stop booing their own players. If you can even call them “fans”.

Vin_unleaded

Season ticket holder here. 100٪ agree.

Qwaliteee

I’ve been going to football now for fifty odd years and that whilst I had physical fights (back in the day!) with Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham and Millwall, I can safely say that I have had more verbal arguments at Highbury and the Emirates with ignoramuses masquerading as Arsenal fans than any other rival club supporters.

Pubs are different, but on match days, I was always backing the players and shutting up people who weren’t.

I’ve actually quietened down an awful lot now – I’m too old!! 😂

HKGooner

Who said clients have the right to be abusive then?

Vin_unleaded

I consider myself a professional at what I do for a living.
If I walked out of the of the office after I’d made a mistake at work and was greeted by abuse by one or a number of paying clients, I’d have no hesitation in flipping them the bird either.

The Beast

Yeah, not sure about that. If I had to deal with the amount of abuse he has at my place of work, I wouldn’t think twice about telling someone to fuck off.

Der32

What business does online fans abusing his family have to do with supporters in the stadium booing your poor performance? Revisionist idiots.

The Beast

Why would you expect a human being to compartmentalise where abuse is coming from? Both forms, whether online or in person would have a massive effect on anyone. It’s not as if the booing during a match is qualified as purely performance related from every individual that chooses to boo. I don’t see that as being revisionist, I just see that as being empathetic

Der32

Name me one other PL player who did what Xhaka did to his own fans? I suppose they all suffer from similar abuse, if not worse. How about other public figures who suffer from online abuse? Are they free to just tell random people to feck off? I do still cheer Xhaka as an Arsenal supporter. If he apologizes I would also accept without a moment’s pause.

The Beast

“How about other public figures who suffer from online abuse? Are they free to just tell random people to feck off?” Yeah, they definitely are. Don’t think we’re gonna see eye to eye on this one. The nature of online abuse, or abuse from a stadium full of ppl, is that ppl are anonymous & therefore some feel like they can give abuse without repercussion. So, if a public figure responds to that with a general fuck off, I can definitely understand that. Personally, as a supporter, I never felt that “fuck off” was directed at me as I wasn’t… Read more »

Der32

He’s free to go online and tell people to shut up. I guess he’s also free to go inside the stadium and tell supporters to feck off, throw the armband and storm out the tunnel after getting booed for a bad performance. Doesn’t make it the right thing to do as club captain of a supposedly classy club? 99% of Arsenal fans at the time wanted him out of the captaincy, which was what Emery reluctantly did. Now 99% fans thought the reverse? All because he was getting abused online, whereas all other PL players are still facing the same… Read more »

Yellow Ribbon

First of all I would say that although I did strongly condemn and criticise Xhaka for throwing around the middle finger back then, I could see the humane part of it. He was going through his lowest point in his career probably and certainly we as a club were too in my short memory. We as fans only helped to push him over the ledge. I don’t think it was intended for everyone of us but only to those way too concerned online. If I remember right he didn’t apologise “apologise” but he rather just said he shouldn’t have reacted… Read more »

Greg in Seatte

You must just be a joy in your relationships, so forgiving and all…if proper deference paid to you and your righteous perspective on things.

Eff off.

Der32

Forgiving is easy if someone actually apologizes. I’m also in a lovint relationship with wife & 2 kids, but thanks for your concerns. You must also be a delightful chap with your overarching assumptions.

Emi Rates

“He’s free to go online and tell people to shut up”

Like Ronaldo is currently doing. One of the greatest football players of all time is actually having spats with his Twitter followers. So classy!

Der32

Yes, on Twitter. Not against your supporters in the stands. Thanks for proving my point.

Emi Rates

Your point being he should have Twitter spats with fans, not confront people face to face. Righto!

Qwaliteee

Spot on.

Jimboslice

The marmite man. Much respect to him for staying around and changing many people’s views on him, takes a strong character to do so.

SarcasmB0T

Every day this unrepentant wanker is at this club is a black mark against the people in charge of it.

pb70

I love our new black kits too., who knew it was in honour of Xhaka.

By the way, I have also found life better when I don’t let go of issues from 3 years ago while most of humanity have moved on from such an earth shattering event.

ALBangbang

Casual

Chris

Sarcasm.

Qwaliteee

You’ve clearly not bothered to watch what he has done during the past twelve months or so, or you’re deliberately choosing to troll.

Either way, you’re displaying your ignorance and mugging yourself off into the bargain.

All a bit pointless, really.

SarcasmB0T

Look, I don’t care. For me, the matter is settled. He did something completely unacceptable and disrespected the club and it’s fans in the process and has refused to give even a token apology since. He should not be at the club. Period. What he should have done was say: “Look, I blew up, sorry.” He didn’t, because he’s too much of a wuss to admit he was wrong. Whatever he has done since is completely immaterial. If the club had any standards for player conduct – not to be confused with brown-nosing the manager – he would have been… Read more »

PB70

Grudges are for those who insist that they are owed something; forgiveness, however, is for those who are substantial enough to move on.
Criss Jami

I, like you, feel I am owed lots! I am not substantial and shall never move on!! I’m 92% certain that is the moral behind that saying.

The Beast

“Look, I don’t care. For me, the matter is settled.”

Is it though? You seem to be holding on to the “matter” for dear life

SarcasmB0T

It’s settled in the sense that I think he shouldn’t be at the club and there ain’t nothing he can do to convince me otherwise.

The Beast

Fair enough. Good luck with that as it seems pretty apparent he’s a big part of the squad for the team being

Merlin’s Panini

Enjoy your self inflicted misery then

Gunner1971
Der32

It’s good to read again with fresh spectacles, a few years after the incident. I didn’t like the words “sorry if that’s what you thought” instead of just ending it with “sorry”, but it is what it is. I said he’s an important player and I will support him, but also I’m not doing a 180 degree turn on his past. I guess this is called moving on? Without having to be revisionist. Neither the fans or Xhaka are perfect, but I’m not about to be carried away and suddenly say he was always perfect for the Club. He had… Read more »

Gunner1971

That’s a reasonable comment at least.

Yellow Ribbon

Look, fans these days are vile and abusive even to the most committed people. We all have certainly have had our wish for things to have moved on much earlier than they did but reactions from certain online keyboard flag-bearers and pilots with banners flying around have been over the top to say the least. Out of topic but guess why Wenger just hasn’t even bothered coming back to the stands to watch a game at least for once? Although I do think he deserves a statue for what he contributed, I think he deserves much better and I don’t… Read more »

JBF

I’m not afraid to say I fucking love this guy. His strength of character is unbelievable, a great presence within the dressing room. I hope he continues to enjoy his renaissance at the club.

Qwaliteee

Yeah, well said.

wrightstuff8

Agreed. He is a warrior.
Not perfect, but very few are.

EmileSmithWhoa

I have thoroughly appreciated him his whole Arsenal career. same with Arteta, both times. I look back at his red cards and am about 70/30 blaming refs and others vs blaming Xhaka. In a way I see him much like Ozil in that his style and personality has always been better suited to other national leagues or teams vs England. The difference is that I have never remotely questioned Xhaka when it comes to doing exactly what his teammates and manager expected from him to be the best Arsenal player possible.

Brady’s bunch

Still not for me thanks

Qwaliteee

If he continues on the same trajectory that he is currently undertaking, then I for one would be more than happy to see him sign an extension. That I have actually entertained the idea – never mind admit it on a fan site – is as amazing to me as to probably any regular viewers on here, who will know my hitherto feelings in general towards this guy. In short, his renaissance has been quite remarkable – almost beyond an impossibility, given how low his stock was under Unai Emery. He has steadfastly got his head down, improved his game… Read more »

Der32

He was given the armband when Laca was substituted last season. But he refused it, confusion ensued until the armband was given to Tierney. Glad he came back to his senses this time around and did not give way for even more bad PR.

El Mintero

He didn’t refuse it. It was meant to go to tierney not him.

Der32

He refused it, live on TV. Xhaka was arguing for all to see with Laca.

Fatgooner

He’s an average player: great on his good days but sometimes awful. And always prone to do something stupid. For me it’s no coincidence that we haven’t played in the Champions’ League since he arrived at the club. He is the epitome of the Average Arsenal of recent years. If he left the club tomorrow it wouldn’t bother me.

BTW: there is a perfect storm on the horizon. Both Xhaka and Partey have certain of-the-pitch problems that could lead to their sudden departure from the club. If that happens then our season is already over.

Arsenal4Life

You say our season would already be over if he suddenly left the club, but you also say you wouldn’t be bothered if he left tomorrow. So… are you saying you actually prefer that we fail?

All those cruel and unyielding comments you’ve written over the years suddenly have a whole new meaning for us!

Deano

Before he thumped that delicious goal home against manure I was like what is he still doing here. That earned a lot of brownie points, and if his first season of two is outstanding (nice bit of silverware would do no harm) I’d be happy if he got another year.

Bkgooner43

He’s been my fave Arsenal footballer since he arrived, and he’s still is. Despite our wish to bring more young talent in the squad, there’s no substitute for leadership and experience when you’re in big games.

Brady’s bunch

😂😂

Determination Cultured

The most consistent player. We have consistently failed to qualify for CL with him around. Get rid asap and replace with a proper attacking 8.

Martin R

Are you seriously suggesting that Xhaka is primarily responsible for us missing out on the Champions League. 🙈🫣

chepetin

Also at fault for rising housing prices and global warming…

EmileSmithWhoa

I definitely hold him responsible for the rise in white nationalism and the well documented increases in butt cheek size formerly attributed to the Khardashians. On a side note, I remember on that rare occasion he had a long term injury…he alone made sure to reduce the expected time of recovery by Footballers across the world because of his dedication to get back asap. His early return from his rare major injury was especially important to our results if I remember correctly. I was unsure of his coming roles in future seasons. Now, watching some of his offensive passing….I should… Read more »

mrugunner

yes. game at brighton a few years ago.

he has given away so many penalties.
how many assists/goals does he provide in return?
how many points does he save us?

“The most consistent player. We have consistently failed to qualify for CL with him around.” — YES

Kinghenrythe14th

Of course having the likes of Mustafi, Sokratis, a past it Petr Cech etc had nothing to do with it.

There’s a reason he’s the only surviving starter after Wenger till date. He’s not perfect and it’s an area we should be thinking about upgrading but let’s not use him as a poster boy for all our past failures as a club.

Crippledhand

Got loads of love for Granit! Happy he’s still around and, by the sounds of things, the rest of the team are too.

Mårten

Xhaka have always done exactly what the coaches have told him to, thats why all coaches love him.. Emery had him running all over the pitch trying to close gaps, of course he would look like a fool. I would have been frustrated too.

Eric Blair

I’ve generally enjoyed having a spikey character like him around the past couple of years. You know where you stand with him, and we know it means we will need to find an upgrade in midfield if we are to challenge for the title.

One other thing, I have a vague memory he was under investigation by the cops not too long ago, what happened with that?

Mkh

The total amount was 225k, which is like two weeks of his wage. Unlikely that a professional take such a risk, unless being so stupid.

Vonnie

If you’re referring to the betting incident he was never under investigation, the reports were very clear that the player was not involved. Stop looking for shit where there isn’t any.

Eric Blair

OK potty mouth

karl

I’ve always liked Granit’s spikes character in a time we’ve had too many vanilla players getting bullied by average sides.

It’s so good to see those days behind us.

Brady’s bunch

Spikey is one thing but not being on the pitch to help the team is a whole different story.

karl

He had his moments, but it was a mistake to put him in defensive positions and Mikel has now done the right thing in moving Xhaka up the field.

It just depressed me to watch such passive teams after the great ones of the Adams and Vieira eras.

Podb

He got booked for diving v Palace and then put his hands on ref Anthony Taylor when protesting … Taylor did not blink an eye but C..t Tierney/M Dean would have sent him off … hopefully Vieira is a notch above and Teaforthetillerman signs this weekend

Badaab

assistant coach of bookings, granit xhaka

FMT

Contrary to popular belief, I think Vieira is Xhaka,’s replacement,, and Not Odegard’s fill-in. From all Vieira’s YouTube videos that I’ve seen, he operated from the left of the mid-field (Xhaka’s position). Hardly, in fact not once, did I see him operate from the right of the mid-field where Odegard plays.
And from what I’ve seen so far, Vieira is gonna take that position to another level! He’s gonna blow our minds! He is the final piece I believe

swongken

i’ve lived long enough to admit that i’m wrong as i’m being wrong. i knew when i slagged xhaka it was dumb and went ahead anyway. i really hope he gets a contract extension and receives the testimonial he so truly deserves.

Qwaliteee

Nothing wrong with admitting you were wrong.

😊👏 🍺

ChickPEA

Well Granit, what about Mo Elneny? He was there before you!

Francesc

Bottomline is he has been just about average for us since he has arrived. That too after considering his performance for past two years, prior to that he was way below average. His red card against City at home last season is the perfect example of how he takes more out of the team than he gives.

Domi

It’s a shame you are still here, Granit, and that we have to wait for imminent brain implosions that are bound to happen with you here.

Qwaliteee

Cedric, yes.

Xhaka, not any more.

Arsenalfanthem

Whatever we feel about his limitations and the errors in his game, he’s our player and for the most part has been consistent and clearly cares about the club. I have personally wanted him out or dropped in the past, rather than continue with the negativity I’d like to support all our players while they’re still our players. I hope he has his best season for us and this new look team gets us where we need to be. I’m wondering what our midfield looks like pending alleged legal matters regarding another of our midfielders though.

Collibosher

Just to recycle a comment I made in the arses the other day. Did you notice that after Martinelli scored his goal against Palace, he ran to Xhaka, even swerving to avoid other team-mates on the way, and threw both arms around him. In the absence of any other explanation, I reckon that Gabi felt like shit after missing that earlier chance, and Granit probably had a quiet word in his ear. What someone does out there on the pitch is often far and away more than what we see. Maybe Xhaka will become less relevant as the youngsters in… Read more »

Fabregas4

Actually, there were several times last season where they tried to hand Xhaka the captain’s armband but he refused to take it.

Better with Arteta

He has had his bad moments and he has definitely looked liked he needed replacing at some points. But he is not the player he was. His decision-making has improved, his mobility has improved, his error rate has declined, he now rarely has a bad game. He is often excellent. So he has grown on me. I hope he gets another two years while a replacement is broken in.

Amin

Xhaka seemed to have ironed out those lunges that earned him lousy bookings

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