Thursday, December 8, 2022

Xhaka doesn’t fear pre-World Cup burn out

Granit Xhaka says he has no qualms about playing every three days for Arsenal despite the World Cup coming into view.

The Switzerland captain, one of three Gunners to have played over 1,100 minutes so far this season, maintains his current exertions are in line with what he’s done in the past and that burnout won’t be an issue for him before the Premier League takes a break to accommodate Qatar 2022.

“No, I was never thinking like this, I will never think like this when I go on the pitch,” the midfielder told the Evening Standard after last night’s 1-0 win over PSV Eindhoven.

“This is football, [getting injured] can happen in one second. You have to put your foot in when it is a 50-50 ball. And me, my personality, the people who know me, I will never back out of that.

“I am not worried about [playing too many minutes] because the staff, the coach, they know how I am physically, how I look after myself. It is not the first time I am doing this [amount of] games in a row.”

Xhaka’s volley in the 70th minute was enough to secure Arsenal’s place in the knockout stages of the Europa League and maintains the club’s incredible start to the season.

It’s now 13 wins from 14 matches in all competitions and the optimism in the camp is helping to keep him motivated.

“I am feeling very good. Of course, every time you win it makes it a little bit easier, but yeah I am not worried about the minutes, or the World Cup, or the future.

“I don’t think it’s about my games at the moment, I’ve been here seven years and my numbers speak for themselves. The numbers I’ve got for this football club, how many games I have had in seven years. I calculated maybe two years ago that I’m playing 45 games a season.

“It’s a number I had always in the past as well. Really I’m not thinking about a break. Mikel is the boss, he decides when to take me out and when not to. He did against Bodo, it was maybe perfect timing to give me a bit of a rest. Games like this, everyone wants to play.”

Last night, Mikel Arteta dismissed worries about his stars being overplayed pointing to stars at other clubs who are featuring in 70 odd games a season.

“You want to be at the top, you have to be able to do that,” he explained.

“If we start to put something different in the minds of our young players I think we are making a huge mistake because then it’s one yes, one no, now I don’t play, on astroturf I don’t play, I don’t want that.

“I want them to be ruthless every three days.”

Ahead of the win against Leeds last Sunday, Arteta hinted that some of his players are feeling the strain of their hectic October schedule. With a tight squad to choose from and seven more games to play before the middle of November, he faces a difficult job keeping them out of the treatment room.

For Xhaka, the aim is to give everything to stay at the summit of the Premier League before an opportunity to take stock.

“It has to be [the aim],” he said. “When you are there, you have to be there as long as possible. I think if we have the chance to stay there and the World Cup comes, maybe it is a good break for everyone, maybe for us as well, to prepare something else for January.”

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Arap Nget

Top top lad Granit

Boy Bastin

He gives the impression that he’d keep going on no matter what – and he probably would.


Granit Xhaka, our Duracell Bunny. He must take very good care of himself, as he’s seldom injured & has a great positive attitude. Love him playing with a smile on his face.


The way he’s turned it around is incredible. I really didn’t like how he played before, always had a mistake or stupid challenge in him. He just doesn’t look like the same player now, this is the player Wenger had in mind no doubt about it. It’s nice to see he stayed and didn’t just give up with all the hate! Fair play good Sir, keep it up! COYG

Teryima Adi

A true case of when life throws lemons at you, you made lemonade out of it. Great character, no wonder his parents gave him the keys to the house.😄

Alan Sunderland

He didn’t really turn it around, was made a bit of an scapegoat. We’re top of the league and the usual suspects are trying their best to replace him with big gaby. God help us if Cedric gets a start in a game we lose.

A Different George

Against Leeds, I think what seemed like fatigue was less a matter of the actual number of minutes played and more because of the short recovery time–get home on Friday, play on Sunday. One of the possible problems with the Europa League compared to Champions League isn’t that Thursday/Sunday is necessarily harder than Wednesday/Saturday, it’s that you are often playing further away, with more difficult travel. We’ve mostly dodged that this year–Arctic Norway is still easier than Ludogorets (I think–because I actually don’t know where that is).

Teryima Adi

@I think- because I actually don’t know where that is.😄😄😄


I really thank God we did not let go of him to Morinho the other time. Granit is my real leader that other players should emulate


Remember the pre-season advanced left #8 debate?

Well, he made it a non-debate.

Teryima Adi

Xhaka is made of Granit(e).😄


We definitely need midfield reinforcement in Jan. Sorry but Sambi looks not ready in the games he played, would be good to loan him out and get a ready-made player.

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