Monday, June 17, 2024

Xhaka: We have to show Newcastle we are ready

“If someone isn’t ready for this game, stay at home. It doesn’t matter the age, you can be 30, you can be 35, you can be 10, you can be 18. If you’re not ready or you’re nervous, stay on the bench, stay at home, don’t come here. We need people to have balls, sorry to say that, to come here and play. We knew this game was maybe the most important for us but with a performance like this, it’s not acceptable.”

That was Granit Xhaka’s assessment of Arsenal’s capitulation at St James’ Park last May; a 3-0 defeat that all but ended the Gunners’ hopes of finishing in the top four.

Mikel Arteta’s side have come on leaps and bounds in the 12 months since. League leaders for much of the season, Champions League football has been secured with a month to spare. On Sunday, Arsenal head to the North-East knowing an even bigger prize is at stake; the league title.

Any slip-up against the Geordies and Manchester City, following last week’s 4-1 win against the Gunners, will have all the breathing room they need to close things out at a canter.

“We don’t forget the game we had there last season,” Xhaka told Sky Sports looking ahead to Sunday.

“I have to be honest, they destroyed us. They were much, much better, they wanted it much more. We have to go there and show them that we are ready and we are there where we are [for a reason].

“We deserve to be where we are at the moment but it will be a very tough game. Newcastle is doing a very good job but we have to go there, believe, we have to play our game and hopefully, we can take the three points back to London.”

Arsenal temporarily returned to the top of the table following last night’s 3-1 win over Chelsea although City, who have two games in hand, could open up a four-point lead if they beat relegation-threatened West Ham and Leeds in the coming days.

“We have to do our job to take as many points as possible,” said Xhaka.

“After that, we have to hope a little bit because we don’t have everything in our hands.

“In the Premier League everything is possible. People are speaking about us in a good and bad way, but this is part of our job. We have to focus on ourselves, do our job and let’s see after.”

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Charles Charlie Charles

We can do this. We are a different team from this time last year. And the irony is that Partey and KT, who were missed so much that night, might well be on the bench this time.

OdalGooner

That’s true of every game. Loved Xhaka for making that statement. It’s obvious – but it needed to be said.
..and I’d love for Jorginho to start again. Our attack worked fine with him, and the way he conducted himself defensively was a joy to watch.

Man Manny

I don’t think it’s wise to judge Jorginho on Chelsea: they were that bad. Joelington, Willock and Almiron will offer much more than Enzo, Kante and Kovacic did.
Besides, the St. James Park will be bubbling. I’d start a rested Partey in place of Jorginho. My more serious worry is Holding/Kiwior CB pairing if Gabriel misses.

Goonshow

We have to play KT at LB… cannot have Zinch wandering into midfield without solid centre halves. It’s largely why we shipped so many goals since Saliba’s been out – too much pressure for Big Gabi on both sides… a weaker centre half on his right and an inconsistent (sometimes absent!) LB on his left.

Henrik

I believe a lot of players are tired, I would not be disappointed if we would play a 4-2-3-1 against Newcastle.

Tierney instead of Zinchenko to overload against Trippier and Jorginho and Partey both from start to create maximum control. Perhaps even Trossard instead of Saka.

truj

Tired? We got just one small competition to play in. Are you having a laugh?

Eric Blair

We’re also playing a season with an f’ing World Cup slap bang in the middle of it.

Henrik

I think that for this young squad, with the interruption of the world cup, there is a matter of fatigue, physically but perhaps even more so mentally.

yen

Kudos to Eddie Howe & the setup behind the team because they unfortunately seem to have some footballing brains apart from absurd money (winks at Chelsea).

They’re already doing really well with what they have and probably will heavily invest in years to come.

That being said, hope we absolutely smash them and revenge last season’s visit.

Omaha Ill

“Arsenal temporarily returned to the top”? we are top. that may turn out to be temporary but still…

Teryima Adi

😄

Goonshow

And, lo and behold, it has.

Merlin’s Panini

Last season should be all the motivation we need. We owe them one.
Newcastle are a really good team now but if we’re on song we should beat them. It’s going to be about total commitment, forcing errors and being ruthless with the chances we create.

Goonshow

And cutting out the sloppy brain-farts that have crept into our game of late.

Teryima Adi

Stranger things have happened in football- Arsenal taking the title by a point on the last day of the season.

Doghouse

even in the likelihood man c won’t lose any of their remaining games all we can do is win ours and hope they draw a few, Xhaka was spot on after last seasons miserable defeat v geordies, he doesn’t go missing when we are put to the sword away from home either, he’s had an amazing season his best ever, not only his goals/assists but has tempered those rash challenges he would sometimes make, maybe its because he’s been deployed in a far more forward role but i can’t think of a goal conceded directly from him.

Qwaliteee

As it stands, we need them to drop 5 points from their remaining 18. One defeat and a draw should do it. Or three draws. I actually think the former is more likely.

But, of course, we need to keep the pressure up by winning all of ours. Which we are more than capable of doing.

Keep the faith mate. 👍🍺

Qwaliteee

STOP PRESS

That’s now drop five from their remaining fifteen.

They are such cunts. I fucking hate them.

Eric Blair

I think a lot is to do with him playing in a more advanced role, it suits him better.

Ozzie

Xhaka was as great last season and the season before too, but without the goals and assists. He’s never had a second yellow in his career, despite being targeted by refs – the man is a master of discipline, ignore all the stupid narratives!

A Different George

I thought he was just great against Chelsea. Apart from his two impressive assists, he was heavily involved in Jesus’ goal, forced a really good save from Kepa, and generally wreaked havoc with their defenders. I don’t know how many ball recoveries he was involved in that prevented them from getting out, but it seemed constant. Yes, they are a shambolic team, but it wasn’t only their weakness that made him look good. I am more convinced he was still sick against Man City (again, it’s hard to know because the other team were as good as Chelsea were bad).… Read more »

Naked Cygan

We should have had a penalty last time we played Newcastle and we should have had a penalty against Chelsea last night. Not sure why VAR is so anti-Arsenal?

Qwaliteee

Anti-Arsenal.

Pro-City.

Money Money Money.

Brown paper bag Money.

Heavenly Chapecoense

We will win our games, City will draw one, we will expect them to lose the last game of the season. On May 28th, they will be 1-0 down to Brentford in the first half, Arsenal will be 3-0 against the Wolves. City will then score 4 in the second half.

Eric Blair

I personally find it hard to imagine any scenario now where they don’t win the league.

Ozzie

Nor can I Eric, but in the words of Jimmy Greaves, football’s a funny old game.
#believe

Aleksandar

In the meantime, big Sam comes at the right time for a surprise win at the Etihad.

Ozzie

Chelsea should’ve moved quicker!

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