Granit Xhaka: Time For Xhak To Hit The Road?

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  • Try to improve upon him, but keep if we can’t

  • Get rid


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Red London

Anti-Simp Culture
Trusted
Oh yeah, I agree that the media definitely subconsciously push that narrative.

I think at it's root it probably goes deeper than football or sports in general though.

I think subconsciously in western society there's still kind of that colonial attitude and stereotype that hasn't been fully shaken, that black people may have superior physical attributes in certain circumstances but you need a white guy in charge because they have the intelligence.

Maybe I'm looking too deeply into it but I think that sort of subconscious bias / racism may be at least partially why black managers have really struggled generally to get a chance in the game.
I agree, and with things like this its hard to quantify and change in some ways. As the kind of stuff we are talking about isnt really laws or people consciously deciding things in their mind. It may sound a bit ****ed up but I think generations need to just pass as many people alive were influenced by parents who lived a century ago. My parents and their parents lived in societies which were racist- and were persecuted themselves.

We definitely live in an age (in the last 10 years) where we are becomng more aware of these things and I do think the world will be a better place racism/homophobia/etc wise when my generation are older adults. It won't be perfect but it will be better than what it is now.
 
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Riou

A-M's Resident Jobber
Trusted
What a player Veron was.

That's why there is no shame for Xhaka struggling in this league, as Veron couldn't deal with it either and he was a level or two above Granit.

Xhaka would be fantastic in Italy for example, he's still a good player, just ideally not as a starter for us.
 

Garrincha

Wilf Zaha Aficionado
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the first interview i ever saw of Partey he described himself as a 'stopper' player & went on to praise think Yayas size & strength :lol:
 

Red London

Anti-Simp Culture
Trusted
It's the coaching. Players are more efficient and tactically astute - athletic but not as much flair. You see it with our youth products even, the majority are minimalist players with defensive responsibility ingrained into them. I think Neymar is the last of that ilk personally.

When I was young at school my friend hated his glasses but seeing Edgar Davis make it look cool made him feel much better about it :lol:

I always used to think of him when I saw Davis.
Yeah back then it was more about your ability. Defenders and DM's had the responsibility of defending but the attacking mids, wingers and forwards were left to do what they do best: attack. There was also less tactics at play and more about showing individualism on the pitch.
Teams wouldn't always just park the bus heavily when they didnt fancy themselves, and thats why positions like no.10's were key players as they had space to operate, whereas now they need to be a bit more of a jack of all trades and have output + defensive qualities rather than being a Özil-like wizard.

Its almost as if Guardiola is the modern day version of Wenger, thats how you play sexy football right at the top now, you meticulously manage every aspect of the teams functioning, while Wenger just let the talented players play and express themselves. I wish I had more time to enjoy that 90's-00's period of football, unfortunately I got the tail end.
 

avenellroad

John Radford’s son
What a player Veron was.

That's why there is no shame for Xhaka struggling in this league, as Veron couldn't deal with it either and he was a level or two above Granit.

Xhaka would be fantastic in Italy for example, he's still a good player, just ideally not as a starter for us.

Veron was a top 5 level midfielder in the world when he joined United. Couldn’t believe they got him - and then Ferguson persisting with Beckham and co killed his career here.

Football Italia days watching him win the league for Lazio with Nedved, Mihajlović and the others... he was a monster of a midfielder
 

Riou

A-M's Resident Jobber
Trusted
Veron was a top 5 level midfielder in the world when he joined United. Couldn’t believe they got him - and then Ferguson persisting with Beckham and co killed his career here.

Football Italia days watching him win the league for Lazio with Nedved, Mihajlović and the others... he was a monster of a midfielder

I liked Beckham at Madrid tbh, loved that era for Real back then.

Championship Manager 03/04, Real Madrid...Zidane, Ronaldo, Figo, Raul, Roberto Carlos, Beckham :drool:
 
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RunTheTrap

In midfield with Cellabos
It happened when we signed Partey too. A lot of fans were obsessed with the idea that he was a 'Destroyer' when he's far more than that. It was weird.

I can't see it as being anything other than subconscious racism to be honest.

If you're a black, well built midfielder you could play like Pirlo and you'd still get labelled as a destroyer by a lot of fans. It's a shame really.
It’s not just the fans or the media but the coaching levels around Europe have a misconception around black players. John Obi Mikel was heralded as the next big thing in football, he even outperformed Messi in a youth competition as an attacking midfielder. So much so Chelsea and United fought for his signature until the London club came out on top. Despite all his hype, what happened to Mikel’s career? His physical atttibutes were put first and they nullified his attacking prowess in order for him to be a bog standard DM. And he isn’t the only sad story. How comes you rarely see black attacking midfielders, deep lying midfielders or even goalkeepers? If you’re fast and black they’ll develop you into a winger, if you’re tall and strong then you can be defender and if you’re technically gifted and you happen to have Diawara, Sissoko or Dembele as a surname then you can be a DM or CM but never an AM.
 

Kysus

Well-Known Member
Unsurprisingly Xhaka was the only player alongside Saka who looked comfortable with the ball under pressure vs City.
You cannot teach "football brain"
 

Big Poppa

Established Member
Trusted
Unsurprisingly Xhaka was the only player alongside Saka who looked comfortable with the ball under pressure vs City.
You cannot teach "football brain"

Xhaka always looks comfortable with the ball when teams allow him to have it. He virtually plays as a spare left centre back with Tierney on. It’s when pressed that there’s a problem.
 

Godwin1

Very well-known
If a wrestler gets hold of you, you’re ****ed. You’re going to the floor and you’re not getting up until they say so. If nobody drags them off you, you will either end up begging for forgiveness or dying. Neither of those bums were ready for that. :lol:
Imagine taking one on pissed like those two did. :facepalm: You'd probably have to bite a nipple off to get them off you tbh.
 

Batman

Bruce Wayne
https://theathletic.com/2408351/202...-i-like-to-see-the-whole-game-in-front-of-me/

Granit Xhaka: ‘Arteta gave me freedom. I like to see the whole game’

mikel-arteta-granit-xhaka-scaled-e1614181463215-1024x681.jpg

By Art de Roché Feb 24, 2021
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Since signing in 2016, Granit Xhaka has been one of Arsenal’s most intriguing players.

By the time Mikel Arteta arrived as manager in December 2019, it looked as though the Switzerland midfielder was destined to leave north London, but the Spaniard’s arrival presented a lifeline. The first suggestion of a turnaround came in Arteta’s first week back at the club when he said he had wanted Manchester City to sign the midfielder when he joined their staff in 2016.

In the three and a half years it took for the pair’s paths to finally merge, Xhaka had been trusted by two managers in Arsène Wenger and Unai Emery, as well as interim boss Freddie Ljungberg. Yet that faith was never quite replicated by Arsenal supporters.

Often exposed in midfield under his first two managers, fan patience had steadily started to wear thin. Seemingly not well-suited to the all-action nature of a Premier League midfield, his exact purpose became unclear as erratic displays grew more frequent. The infamous backlash to the boos of the Emirates crowd against Crystal Palace had looked certain to call time on Xhaka’s Arsenal career, but the 16 months since have provided the clearest sense of purpose we have seen from him.

He has been Arteta’s most used player in the Premier League and Europa League since his appointment in December 2019 (3,728 minutes across 45 games), his role in the side has become more defined than ever.

“Yes,” he says when asked whether his role is more focused under Arteta before facing Benfica in Athens in the Europa League. “Everything has a tactical reason. Mikel is unbelievable in how he sees the game.

“The key for a player is to understand Arteta, his philosophy and how he wants to play. I understood this game very quickly. He’s putting me in the positions where I have freedom, where I have the game in front of me. This is what I like. I don’t like the game with my back to the opponent’s goal, I like to see the whole game in front of me.

“That’s something very positive from the coach; he can see how the players like to play, and he saw that very quickly in me. I’m trying to give everything for the team, for him and to give him the confidence back that he’s giving me.”

The freedom that has come with his deeper positioning was apparent from the very early days of Arteta’s reign. In his first game in charge at Bournemouth on Boxing Day 2019, he had Xhaka dropping deeper to cover Bukayo Saka’s surges forward from left-back.

Since then, that role has largely been filled by Kieran Tierney, with Xhaka again tucking in behind to protect the backline.

Granit-Xhaka-Heatmap-26_12_2019-24_2_2021.png


In doing so, he has attempted more tackles than any other Arsenal player this season across the Premier League and Europa League (80), made a team-high 171 recoveries (Dani Ceballos is second with 136), while also committing the most fouls (35).

Having the clear responsibility of supporting the defence while propelling the team forward has helped simplify Xhaka’s game. This has been particularly evident with the way he has fed Nicolas Pepe on the left in recent weeks. Away at Southampton, for instance, the Xhaka-to-Pepe pass was the most common combination on the night (eight times) and opened the pitch up for the Swiss.

“Pepe is very important for us,” Xhaka says. “He has a lot of quality. In the last few weeks he’s played more on the left, he looks very good on the left if I’m honest, because I’ve seen him only on the right. But it is important to know the players can play in both positions.

“He has made the difference in the last few weeks, at Southampton, for example, when he scored (the equaliser in a 3-1 win), you have players like him because they are very fast and can run behind. With Cedric or Kieran on the left, who like to have the ball in their feet, you have two options open, and this is very good for me.”

Compare this to how thinly spread he was pre-Arteta, and when you consider he isn’t the most agile, athletic midfielder, it’s understandable he sometimes appeared a little flustered.

Granit-Xhaka-Heatmap-14_8_2016-25_12_2019.png


Since football went largely behind closed doors eight months ago, Xhaka has emerged as one of Arteta’s key on-pitch leaders. The Athletic looked at this in more depth after the Southampton win, but his voice has been a constant during this time.

Last season, for example, the midfielder was vocally leading the press in the early stages of July’s 2-1 win over Liverpool.



He continued throughout and later in the half, both Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson’s goals came from pressing Liverpool high upfield.

Just as important as what happens on the pitch is what happens off it. Like many players at Arsenal and across football in recent years, Xhaka has been subject to abuse on social media. An unseemly element of the game which, despite the public displays of disgust, remains embedded in the current online footballing culture.

Xhaka is adamant that he is eager for fans to return to stadiums when possible, but there is no escaping the 28-year-old’s history with social media abuse. Although it reached its height in the aftermath of his outburst against Crystal Palace, he has long since been a target on social media alongside some of his team-mates.

Fair criticism of poor performances is expected, but some have used those performances as justification for personal attacks. Xhaka isn’t the only Arsenal player to be subject to this and with far younger players experiencing similar, there comes a point where football may have to take a backseat to the bigger issues at play.

In a statement underlining the club’s support for their players, Arsenal said: “As a club, we are committed to using our voice and network to strengthen measures and action taken by relevant authorities to punish those responsible for this abuse that affects us all. Where an individual is found to have an Arsenal membership, they will be banned. We are working with the authorities to report abuse to the police.

“We cannot and will not let hateful abuse become a normalised part of the game. We all need to work together to drive this behaviour out. This includes clubs, governing bodies, fans, media and politicians; but requires the help and commitment of social media companies. We cannot underestimate the impact abuse has on individuals and the recent spate of abuse needs to be a wake-up call.

“We provide support to our players, which includes sports psychologists, social media and legal teams.”

Xhaka himself spoke strongly about the subject, better than I can here, so it is well worth your time hearing the discussion in full (12:16).


Of all Arsenal’s players, Xhaka is likely the most fascinating in regards to how perception works. Trusted by those in charge, liked by those in the dressing room and a growing influence both on and off the pitch, but still maligned online on an almost weekly basis.

He will remain a key figure under Arteta and there is no doubt his game has become more refined. Irrespective of his earlier struggles on the pitch, he deserves great respect for sticking to his convictions in the midst of all the madness that has followed him and finally getting the chance for people to understand him — both as a player and a person.
The best view of the game is from the bench, where he belongs. Some other club's bench preferably.
 

Mrs Bergkamp

Established Member
Trusted
I still don't see it. Even when facing play tonight, sometimes there was one obvious pass. Just play it quickly, but no. Take three touches and play it slow. I was almost in tears watching him- tears of frustration, not joy. Even Partey is getting dragged down into his safety first net. Just go somewhere else already.
 

Taneruit

Well-Known Member
@RunTheTrap Today was another example of what we talked about. The moment Ceballos went off and Partey came on Xhaka played much more balanced. I don't think he would have been in the position to play the pass to Odeegard in the build up for our 3rd goal if Ceballos was still on the pitch.

Don't get it, really don't. Having Ceballos on shouldn't make our left side worse for no reason.
 

RunTheTrap

In midfield with Cellabos
@RunTheTrap Today was another example of what we talked about. The moment Ceballos went off and Partey came on Xhaka played much more balanced. I don't think he would have been in the position to play the pass to Odeegard in the build up for our 3rd goal if Ceballos was still on the pitch.

Don't get it, really don't. Having Ceballos on shouldn't make our left side worse for no reason.
It's even stranger when you consider Xhaka and Cellabos have played with each other the longest and yet Xhaka looks most comfortable with Partey.
 

AfcDaniel20

Active Member
Ceballos’ holds on to the ball waayyy too much and doesnt really have the long range passing ability. He is also very slow.

If you pay attention we always attack on the left flank with Xhaka even when Cedric was playing there. The right flank with Ceballos/Elneny is always dead. Bellerin has been poor also.

Xhaka’s pass to Ödegaard opened it all up on the right flank for Saka.
 

kash2

Obsessed With Jury
@RunTheTrap Today was another example of what we talked about. The moment Ceballos went off and Partey came on Xhaka played much more balanced. I don't think he would have been in the position to play the pass to Odeegard in the build up for our 3rd goal if Ceballos was still on the pitch.

Don't get it, really don't. Having Ceballos on shouldn't make our left side worse for no reason.
did u not watch cebaloss "performance" yesteray. has to be nannied
 

Mrs Bergkamp

Established Member
Trusted
The personal abuse is out of order as are the comments about his family. His on pitch meltdown came when he was booed (not personally abused as far as I'm aware) and he lost it. I'm not sure him provoking a confrontation or even a conversation will help. He either does a Cantona or Curtis Woodhouse. Otherwise, I'm happy to have the trolls names and address publicised and a lifetime ban from our stadium. Xhaka is either the most rattled player on this or he keeps this subject hot to stop any criticism of his (non) performances.
 

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