Thursday, June 20, 2024

Xhaka relishing new midfield remit

The sight of Granit Xhaka scoring the type of goal you’d associate with a poacher, is as clear an indication as any of his revised role under Mikel Arteta.

Having spent so long anchoring the midfield, either on his own or as part of a double pivot, the Switzerland international now operates further up the pitch in a left 8 position with a remit to get in the box when his teammates are attacking.

During the 4-2 win over Leicester, it worked a treat. He nearly gave the Gunners the lead with a header that came off the post following a teasing ball by Bukayo Saka and in the second half, calmed the nerves with a tap-in from close-range after man of the match Gabriel Jesus had nicked the ball from keeper Danny Ward.

“I’ve got more freedom to go up and down,” Xhaka told afterwards.

“I know I can do that. I have a lot of freedom from the coach, from my teammates.

“At the moment I’m happy with how everything is going. Let’s continue to work like this and hopefully at the end of the season we can be more than happy.

“It’s always good when you score and it’s always good when you can help the team – not only me, but all the players did a great job today. I’m more than happy to help, of course.”

While Xhaka may well face competition from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Fabio Vieira in due course, for the time being, his manager is very pleased with how he’s adapted to the new remit.

“We want [Granit] to arrive in the box and create those moments,” said the boss.

“He has done it in his career, and I’m a big believer that he can do it and he now has this moment to do it.

“He should have scored another with that header in the first half, but I’m really pleased with him.”

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Much maligned footballer. I really hope he gets appreciated now. The managers we had/have always played him when he is available speaks volumes about his set skill.


Well, a new man and a new team. Not getting carried away yet, but compared to the beginning of last year I’ll take that.

We probably need a couple more signings to end up with a scary looking bench and really strong squad,but enjoyable nonetheless.

On a separate but enjoyable note I did enjoy the Brentford manure match. Listening to Neville whine all match is just fantastic.

Bleeding gums murphy

I agree with couple more, I’m concerned if Ramsdale gets injured and equally concerned if Jesus gets injured. The cover is never gonna be on same level but replacements for those positions are a few too many levels below what we need.

Horse breath

If Jesus gets injured, he will recover in 3 days.

Bleeding gums murphy


Heavy Gunner

And Leno is warming the bench at Fulham? Strange, ennit?


They are waiting for Rodak’s mistake. He helped them get into premier league two times so it wouold be unfair to bench him without reason.


It really is karma for Neville after his singing and dancing nonsense at the same ground last season, when we played them while decimated by covid. What comes around, goes around!

Emi Rates

I admired Neville for going to AFTV and confronting them after he’d called them idiots. He took none of their shit and talked them all down in a calm and engaging manner. I got a lot of respect for him after that.

But he’s been consistently letting himself down as a pundit since with all his dumb antics and ill considered statements. Knob!

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Neville has always hated Arsenal, which is fine as to be fair the Arsenal / United rivalry from 98 to 05 was the best rivalry in the Premier League era.

But he’s right, most of the AFTV pundits are idiots who wanted Arteta out in the last year.

They’re not idiots for having an opinion – we’re all entitled to that – they’re idiots for not understanding the project.


I srsly doubt its this current AFTV u r talking about…..

Everything you said against AFTV is exactly what LEE GUNNER does on his Channel…Not AFTV


AFTV thrives on negativity and acting like idiots. They make their money from us losing games and getting wound up, and opposition fans watching and laughing. Nasty business.

Emi Rates

This was AFTV during the dying years of Wenger. Neville made a comment on Match of the Day, or some other shit program, about a fan with a “Wenger out” banner being an idiot. AFTV took grave offense and bitched and bitched and bitched while inviting him to defend himself on their channel. Neville went and made arses of all of them. Some well made points being that Wenger deserved respect for all his achievements, the club was still in the CL in spite of having limited means and his final point when someone made a comment about him looking… Read more »


AFTV is all about the finance and tbh most of them have done very nicely out of it financially despite not having anything remotely interesting to say and being barely intelligible. The more successful Arsenal become the less relevant are AFTV and I’ll drink to that.

Naked Cygan

People will understand the project when there is an end result. We had 4th in our own hands and we just fell apart in the sp*rs and Newcastle game. When we start winning the high pressure games then we can say the mentality has changed and the project is working. I think shipping most of our Wenger/Emery era players out is a great move because they were good players but very weak mentally. Hopefully the new players that come in will change the club culture from soft a soft Arsenal to one teams want to avoid playing.

Group Captain Mandrake

Let’s be fair. You can’t claim they completely fell apart without considering the impact of injuries. By that point they were missing Tierney, Partey and Tomi for the season and Laca was their striker until they had no choice to put in Eddie. That has a huge effect. Also, they are a young team. That means high highs and low lows until they get more experience. They failed at their goal for the season but it isn’t like there weren’t contributing factors.

The Beast

Not sure that’s how projects work. If we’ve already reached the “end result” of where we want to be, then what’s the point of a project?

Obviously you need a clear outcome of what you’re aiming for, & I think we’re definitely seeing that on the pitch & it’s being communicated better to the support, but it’s still a journey that requires some faith.





Whether Xhaka can play this role, depends on who is at left back. I’d imagine that if Tierney plays, Xhaka will play the more withdrawn role, while KT bombs down the left. And of course we haven’t seen how we attack down the left if KT and Zinc play without Xhaka. As long as all three are fit, it does allow El Jefe to change the point of attack with one substitution, which would be useful if an opponent susses out yesterday’s formation.

P.S. I called him Zinc because he has galvanised our left flank!


Like the DJ

VAR will solve all the problems

I read on the Athletic comments section someone calling him “The OZ”. Like that name as well.


Being the captain of a team not up to scratch to being one of the weaker players in a v side is a good move for him, bound to make him feel better and have more freedom to play.

Overall it’s a grea sign of our improvement.


TBF, he was not one of the weakers in our side last night!


There are many players I’d rather keep on the team before Xhaka. He did give the ball away for an early Leicester chance but fortunately they missed.

But less responsibility and better team mates are helping him.


This is a truly unfair judgement, C.B. He made a mistake there, that Ramsdale covered. Ben White made a mistake in their first goal, and Saliba made the absolute mistake in the same scene and we got punished. Ramsdale made a mistake in their second goal. They all make mistakes, it depends on how we look at it.


Even if he did give the ball away for an early Leicester chance.
Overall I’d prefer most of the players in the team than him. Shows the benefit of playing with stronger team-mates, we can see the better side of him.


Bit harsh on Xhaka. Arguably I’d say he’s the player we miss the most when out. Even when he was deployed at LB we really miss the structure and leadership he brings to the midfield.


Partey is the difference maker. The points with him playing versus not was ridiculous.


I’d say we need them both in the side – Xhaka and Partey – if we want to do well.

It’s when either of them are tired/injured, then we need a quality player up to speed to replace them.

And that’s why we need to sign Tielemans.

The Beast

Yeah, I’d agree with that. He was our most consistent midfielder last season & though I don’t think he’s the player we’ll be relying on the most this season (think responsibility will spread round a bit better), he’s definitely still one our most consistently good players. No where near a weak link in terms of consistency of play or fitness.


Yeah we’ve got a few leaders on the pitch now. Odegaard, Xhaka and Ramsdale. Off topic but you have to love the fan’s cheering Saliba after the OG, Arteta has really brought the 12th man back.

The Beast

Absolutely lovely stuff. I couldn’t imagine seeing that sort of togetherness during the dark days of Eboué getting boo’d off or some of the support chucking abuse at Wenger after the stoke match. Early days but feels like we’ve come so far since then.

Martin R

Well 3 Premier League managers and 3 managers of Switzerland obviously see him in a better light than you do.


Have a look at the other players, it is them that I’m looking up to, not down on Xhaka. Gabriel, Jesus, Saka, Martinelli, Thomas, Zin, Tomi, White, Tierney, Saliba, Ramsdale are all great players that will help take the pressure off Xhaka and help him look better.


What a redemption story Granit is. All or Nothing shows how much he cares about our club. So happy for him, and he got on the score sheet! COYG!!


Yeah loved the snippet of him at home with his wife and kids aswell, the man’s got a massive heart.


Agree 100 percent. I think you could see in the huddles after we scored yesterday that even though Ø is captain, Xhaka is the most vocal leader and the guy everyone looks to out there.

Mayor McCheese

He’s great in the series. You start to see why everybody who has ever worked with him just wants him around.

Kushinga Lukas

I’m happy for the action of Arsenal the way they play yesterday


Xhaka genuinely looked like a different player yest. Absolutely great game by him. I think… If it Wasn’t Xhaka but a new signing had played that game yest people would be raving.


Very few suspected the upgrade for Xhaka for the Left 8 spot would be… Xhaka himself! Good on you, Granit, love seeing one of ours take a step forward!

Ray's ice cream Parlour

Xhaka “you think Tielemans is better than me….hold my beer!”

Granit(e) hard!

Great point bro and my sentiments exactly


Just really pleased for him.

He’s been through a lot and come out of the other side having fought his way back, tooth and nail, with commitment, endeavour and a lot of courage.

Fair play to the guy.

Teryima Adi

I love the Xhaka Renaissance.

Bill Hall

He thoroughly deserves his place in the first 11 and I am very pleased for him!


It is much more like the role he plays for Switzerland – and he’s always looked good on the international stage

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