Friday, February 23, 2024

Xhaka crowned Swiss player of the year, hails Arteta influence

Granit Xhaka has been crowned Switzerland’s Player of the Year for 2022 to cap off an impressively consistent 12 months for club and country.

Featuring in all 13 of Switzerland’s matches last year, Xhaka, who has worn the armband for his country since 2020, surpassed the 100 cap mark to close in on the all-time appearance record held by Heinz Hermann.

The highlight was arguably the 3-2 victory over Serbia in December that secured a place in the World Cup last 16 for the third consecutive tournament. Ultimately, the Swiss exited in disappointing fashion going down 6-1 to a rampant Portugal.


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Xhaka’s form for Arsenal has also been in the spotlight. And for all the right reasons. The 30-year-old has been given a new lease of life playing in a more advanced role for the Gunners and has been fundamental to the upturn in form that now sees Mikel Arteta’s side top of the Premier League at the halfway stage of the 22/23 campaign.

In fact, the ex-Basel and Borrusia Moenchengladbach man only missed one Premier League game in the whole of 2022 and played all but 29 minutes in the 35 games he did feature in. He scored 5 goals and made 6 assists along the way.

After his award at the Swiss Football Night in Bern, Xhaka revealed that Arteta insisted he collected it in person.

“I landed on Monday morning and am flying back to London on Tuesday morning,” he told Blick.

“I’ll be training again on Tuesday morning. Of course, I got permission from the coach. I very much appreciate his consent. Not every coach does that, because on Friday we’re already playing again in the cup at Man City.

“My coach sent me here,” he told 20 Minuten. “He told me I absolutely had to pick up this award in person. I really appreciate that the coach gives me such freedom.”

“I feel fitter than I have ever felt in my career. I have my coach to thank for that. He has been with us for three years now. He knows exactly what he’s doing.”

He added: “I’ve had many coaches in my career, but never one like Arteta. He seems like he is focused only on football 24 hours a day. He always has a plan A, B and maybe even a plan Z. But he’s not only top tactically, but he’s also top as a person.

“The euphoria [at Arsenal] is enormous. I’ve been at the club for seven years and the atmosphere has never been so good. We are right at the top. But we take it game by game. Hopefully, it’s enough for the cup at the end.”

Xhaka is the second Arsenal player to secure an individual award at a national level; in September, Bukayo Saka was crowned England’s player of the year after a fan vote.

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DB10's air miles

Well deserved. Long may his form continue.


Fully deserved – what a wonderful transformation from his early years at Arsenal where he was so close to being forced out and his discipline was so poor.
A great and likeable player and a fantastic part of the Arsenal family..


Top be fair I think that was more the middle years. I saw some highlights of games in his early years and I now recall him as being unremarkable, effective but not the nutter we saw in the middle years.

Boy Bastin

Yes – I understand that he was the next transfer window away from “goodbye Granit”. What a transformation.


I think that statement applies multiple times and there were a couple of times where he had one foot out the door (Hertha and Roma in what I recall were successive winter then summer transfer windows after the total bust-up). I genuinely hated seeing this guy’s name on the team sheet. He was poor and ill-disciplined. But now he’s a crucial piece. It is the most remarkable turnaround I can recall. Very clear the deep-lying playmaker/DM was a terrible fit with him. Partey has been a god-send, but even when Partey first came it seemed like the ambition early was… Read more »

Martin R

He was never a transfer window away from leaving in the eyes of the managers who all saw what a great player he was.

Boy Bastin

Nonsense. He was certainly on his way out. The “great player” wasn’t worth the “great trouble” he was causing on and off the pitch then, which is why he is rightly congratulated now for the player he’s become.

Reality check

Off the pitch? Player he’s become? You play pirlo with the clowns he was playing with, you get the same results. Disciplinary issues came becuase he cared too much. Nothing much has changed with Xhaka, winning changes fans’ perception.


You are honestly saying there is basically no difference in the way xhaka is playing now and in previous seasons? Sorry, but that’s a revisionist history. Part of it was teammates, part of it was positions (he’s not very good deeper on the pitch), part is he was just not playing at anywhere near this level, and part of it is he’s checked the brain farts. All in all he’s at a completely different level. Credit both him and Mikel for that. He’s a key part of this team now.


Well done Granit. Well done Mikel. The good vibes around the club continue!

Johnny 4 Hats

They will once Granit has handed out the toblerone’s…


Always bring back the chocolates from a quick Swiss trip, it’s an unwritten rule!!



Mayor McCheese

Somewhat off topic, but did any player make a better impression than Xhaka in the All or Nothing documentary? The way he talks about the game, the club, his charisma, you can see why his teammates love him.

Eric Blair

Future Arsenal manager!


That is a huge shout and one that has my complete backing. 👏

Boy Bastin

Quite agree – and he’s not afraid to tell his colleagues the truth as per his remarks to them after the Newcastle defeat towards the end of last season. You need people like that in the dressing room.


Not off topic, your celebrating granit! I thought he was class in AON as well. Nice to see him pick up this gong with the gaffer clearly seeing the importance of it too. COYG!!!!!!!!

Master Floda

His “stop bitching and knuckle the fuck down” attitude impressed me then and now we see the fruits of this relentless hard work and self believe.


No. I was glad we saw “behind the curtain” after his red card at Newcastle. All the fans blamed him as if he had lost the match. The narrative around it was nothing but “Ah, see?! another red card mistake by bonehead Xhaka.” But that doesn’t reflect the reality of football at the top of the game. The scene in AON had Granit in the gym laughing it off with some of the young guys but speaking the truth, too. He took the red card intentionally to stop a certain goal! He had to make that cold-blooded decision to sacrifice… Read more »

Brady’s bunch

Shame they didn’t do a second series. I think it helped Arteta as well, people were able to see what he was doing behind the scenes.

La Défense

Reminds me of Roy Keane a bit.


You mean he is a scruffy looking, opinionated twit with a penchant for violence?


Don’t be down on Xhaka, he’s miles better than Roy Keane…


We do not compare players we like to a creature of that sort around here


Man I hated Roy Keane. But these days I respect him a lot. I love that he stood up to Fergie. Lets be honest now the dust has settled and in a different reality when he did not play for Man Spew (maybe where we didn’t have Patrick Viera) I would have had Keane in my team 100%. What’s not to like about that when it is playing for your side. Still like a lot of what he says now. No bullshit and calls things out. He’s actually pretty funny. If you get that he’s joking. I was staying in… Read more »


Agreed, couldn’t stand him as a player, but only because he was very good and made UTD into winners. That’s all water under the bridge and as time has passed I only have respect for him and one or two others from that lot (certainly not Gary Neville). Even Ferguson became close friends with Arsene. It was a special time and a special rivalry which Sunday reminded me of. Still hate UTD though!


I get your whole “seeing it from both sides” and “with a little more distance” perspective and while I respect you for embracing your humanity I completely blame Ted Lasso and Roy Keane for this recent trend, I’m not having any of it. Once a man-u thug, always a man-u thug


*Roy Kent


*Roy Cunt.

Brady’s bunch

Lasso Legend


He’s a dinosaur with outdated ideas. The game has passed him by, his commentary is useless grumbling about everything.


I lost so much respect for him when he walked out on Ireland before WC 2002. Despicable decision.

Brady’s bunch

Think he was sent home

This Must Be The Place

He behaved in a way where there were no options but for him to leave


Get out of here, he is worth a hundred of Keane.


Got to say, the Roy Keane after the Arsenal has man-handled Man. United is a Roy Keane I like!

Brady’s bunch

Made my piece with Keano after the program he done with Viera it was a great watch


Nothing can get me to warm to ‘roy keane’. The man was a thug on the pitch and a ManU apologist off it. Just because he doesn’t appear to detest us as much as he used to (now we’re winning) isn’t reason enough for me to change my opinion. FFS, he delberately and vindictively injured players and bragged about it later. From now on whenever Haaland scores againt ManU I’ll be cheering. Shit person. Shit manager. Shit pundit. Shit with a shit beard and still shit without it.


As an Irish Arsenal fan I’d like to give my perspective. In Ireland Roy is one of the most divisive public characters since the civil war and that is no lie. After what happened in Saipan obviously. I’m in the rare group of people who has great respect for both Mick McCarthy and Roy and I can see both sides of the argument. What can’t be in doubt is the captivating interest in Roy’s personality particularly from Irish people but I sense in England too. (After all he is one of sky sports heavy hitters). A really interesting personality. That… Read more »


The one iota of respect I have for Keane, was his honesty in publicly admitting that had he and Vieira gone toe to toe in a fight, then Paddy would have killed him.

Boy Bastin

As others have said, any award for Xhaka – including this one, and I wonder who the other contenders were – is well deserved. He has certainly re-invented himself from the player that came very close indeed to being sold a relatively short time ago into the real leader he is today. So well done.


Might as well throw in “Arsenal’s best ever Swiss player” award too, given (controversial opinion alert) he’s somewhat ecipsed Johann Djourou and Philippe Senderos

Jesus of Sao Paulo

No controversy there. Xhaka is clear of the two. Having said that Philippe Senderos was on fire in the run up to the 2006 UCL final. It’s a real shame that Wenger chose to play an unfit Sol in the final and an equally unfit Cashley Cole over the impressive Mathieu Flamini at left back. I imagine with the pair, who had gone through the entire tournament unbeaten, it would have been a different story in Paris. One of the few poor decisions Arsene ever made in his illustrious career, I think.

This Must Be The Place

Who scored our goal though?


I mean it’s the eternal current form vs. total resumé question. Even if their form at the time was good, arguing “Flamini and Senderos should have started the Champions League final over Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell” is a pretty hot take, given the careers and accomplishments of each of them and their experience up to that point.


Like a Swiss knife, Xhaka adds a cutting edge to our attack.


his passing as sweet as fine Swiss chocolate

too funky in here

I’m not even gonna make the reliability/watch gag. There’s no need.


Good decision. That said, if his passes were basketball shots they’d all swiss through the net

A Different George

Cheese, yodel, neutrality, gnomes of Zurich. I think that about exhausts it.


Don’t forget that he’s as secure as a Swiss bank account :).

Brady’s bunch

As adaptable as a swatch


One of my favourite Arsenal players ever. I never disliked him as much as some, but of course had moments where I doubted him. His story is like no other and he carries himself so well. Every coach and player he’s played with/for loves him, and they can’t all be wrong.


Yes mate. I was always in his corner, even when it looked like sh*t for him. I.e. I felt he was misunderstood and too honest to whitewash things. Massive character.

I guess it also helped that his facial features always remind me of my nephew 😊

Naked Cygan

Xhaka should get an MBE for not giving away a penalty or getting sent off this season. He has been amazing this season.


No one will deserve a Premiership Winner’s medal more than this guy. The youngsters in this side owe it to him to get this title over the line; they will have plenty of time to win many more under Arteta, but Xhaka is in the summer, if not necessarily the autumn, of his career. He has been immense; an absolute rock, an unbreakable spirit, an exceptional winner in a team of winners – and a redemption story worthy of Hollywood. He is one of the main reasons I want these guys to win every single fucking game for the rest… Read more »


I really liked him when he joined, then fell out of love quickly and grew to resent his presence in the squad, ultimately being incredibly disappointed when his move to Roma failed to materialise.

However, as so many of us acknowledge, what an incredible turnaround. He’s clearly a top professional – glimpses of which we saw in All or Nothing – and he’s form this season obviously has been wonderful, with an dimension to his game that has been remarkable to witness.

So, humble pie all round and congrats to a top player and top Gunner!

Public Elneny Number One

You expect youngsters to progress and improve but i think the biggest change in a player could arguably be Xhaka. Consider where he was 2 years ago to now, he’s become a revelation. He might not be a player of the season like Saka or Ødegaard but he’s an important cog in machine right now


Imagine being a young player in our locker room watching this. Imagine being a Xhaka hater who made him a/the face of our prior issues. Imagine him explaining to players who are feeling down…about what feeling down really is. Arteta is building or rather shaping a club of mentality monsters in the best ways possible…. By shining the light upon them. No wonder Nketia stayed. I believe Nelson will show this with or without us in the future. Arteta is an amazing Pep version without the FULL financial corruptions that unmitigated sports-washing provides. Xhaka is Granite!

Peter Cechs helmet

I’ve always rated him, infact when he told those booing him to fuck off I liked him even more. Always liked a heart on sleeve player (who actually means it)
So glad he stuck around, he’s bloody brilliant now, interesting how when Jesus played he was higher up the pitch- now Odegaard is there and Zenchenko is basically everwhere and he has dropped into that LH pocket more. He is really is part Swiss army knife.


Really nice how his comments give us insight into Arteta – how he works and how he is viewed. A pretty amazing endorsement after 3 years! They know each other pretty well by now.

Teryima Adi

Arteta has a plan Z. Wow!!!😀

Teryima Adi

Congrats, Xhaka. Continue to soar to greater heights.👊🏾💪🏾👏🏾🙏🏾


Top guy


If there’s a dead rubber after we are champions I’d like to see him sent off for something totally rash and crazy. Just for the nostalgia.


Bone crunching tackle on one Harry Kane, that fucking twat!


Depends who the dead rubber game is against.

That said, every team has got at least one super-cunt who deserves a half an hour late two footer studs up, so it would be fun.

Brady’s bunch

With a red for Kane for just being in his way


If there’s a dead rubber after we’re Champions, I’d love to see Arteta and the boys go totally rock n roll – surrounding the ref, two footed lunges, racing up and down the touch line, the whole team removing their shirts after a goal, tearing up the corner flags, kicking the advertising hoardings – the football equivalent of a band trashing it’s gear at the end of a gig.

Then we could all watch Richard Keys have a heart attack. 😂


OK, as long as that’s available on a free stream.
I’m not paying to watch that cunt have a heart attack. Not because it’s not worth it, it is, but because I object in principle to giving my cash to the sort of rabid shitheads who would employ Richard Keys.


The fact that Arteta insisted that Xhaka fly to Switzerland to accept the award in person shows how he really wants his players to reap all the rewards of their hard work and success. My guess is that Xhaka probably had to miss training to go to the awards ceremony, but Arteta prioritized his player’s happiness and recognition over a training session or two. It probably helps that Xhaka has become a consummate professional under Arteta’s tutelage and a missed training session for him in particular isn’t that big of an issue.


Strict and high demand but always a human touch for what Arteta is doing.

Santi’s Thigh Grab

This is the way. It’s how you earn respect and give respect as a leader. Arteta and the boys are going to the top, game by game.


On his way to becoming a Gunners legend.

Alan Sunderland

Like the tux, reminds me of something Dean Martin would have wore doing a show in the 60s or 70s in Vegas.


So happy to see Xhaka in the current stage. He care about our club, and the fans care about our club. Whatever happened in the past are like two people whose are passionate about the same thing but have a brief argument. Everything is now water under the bridge. We as fans can recognize and appreciate Xhaka’s passion now. Look at Xhaka now! Look at the fan base now! We all have come so far because of one common thread – Miki ARTETA!! COYG!

El Mintero

Granit player of the year so far. He plays we win.


‘One game at a time’, that’s the keyword here


Hope he retires at Arsenal with a couple of PLs and *fingers crossed* a CL. We haven’t had a Testimonial game since.. Bergkamp @ Highbury?

Epic comeback from the man who was once Public Enemy Number One.


Well done Xhaka, fully deserved. Love this guy’s grit, determination, experience & passion that he brings to the Arsenal.


Didn’t martin o get norwegian player of the year as well?

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