Arsenal’s Precise Swiss Timepiece

I think it was Arsene Wenger who said that our Swiss recruit, Granit Xhaka, would “set the tempo” for Arsenal. Last night I watched a short youtube piece on his contribution in the MLS game, and I think see what Arsene was on about.

GXOver the last ten years or so, I’d say there are three players who I feel we missed out on big time, in that they were the rare type of player that would make a huge difference to OUR style of play. Top of that list is Alonso.

You can’t say that he is the best of anything, whether tackler, dribbler, passer, interceptor, leader, headerer (ok you get my drift), but he always was a superb “timepiece”. Everything he did was perfectly timed. Whether at Liverpool, Real Madrid or at Bayern, he would “set the tempo” of the whole side.

I think Granit has the same qualities. The movement into space, the pass, the tackle, everything perfectly synchronized to the needs of the team at any one precise moment. Cool and highly efficient.

As far back as Gilberto, we have lacked smooth lubricating oil at the heart of the machine.

The Chinese make cheap, shitty little timepieces that do the job but fall apart when asked the big questions. The Swiss make timeless quality pieces. I think Granit will make a massive contribution to the heartbeat of the side this season.


79 Responses to Arsenal’s Precise Swiss Timepiece

  1. RC78 says:

    Great post 🙂

    And indeed, he is supposed to be our Xabi Alonso. Let us hope he can help us win the league and champions league like Xabi did at Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern.

    Now Xabi Alonso works best along someone like Luca Modric or Kroos that can carry the ball but also contribute to the passing of the ball from midfield. At the moment, none of our players can do it at the level of Modric or Kross except maybe a fully-fit Cazorla or Wilshere. Ramsey would not be the best option next to Xhaka UNLESS you play another midfielder in a 4-3-1-2 set-up…

    Ramsey – Xhaka – Wilshere
    Sanchez Giroud

    that would be an interesting set up but Ramsey and Wilshere will need to cover a lot of ground and our FB will need to be better at creating chances and scoring…but it could work…

    Anyways – Hope that Xhaka will be a timeless piece at Arsenal and shine like a star

  2. MDI89

    Let’s hope the tempo set isn’t the same as that set by Wilshire & his predecessor Diaby.

  3. RC78 says:

    Xhaka is supposed to be robust physically…

    We could even imagine a midfield with
    Xhaka – Coquelin – El Neny

    We won’t be then accused of lacking physicality in the middle of the park

  4. Rasp says:

    Nice one Micky, thanks 🙂

    Yep I like all I see about Granit. I’m hoping he can build an understanding with Cazorla because I think he is the player we missed most last season.

    I do wonder how Granit and Ramsey will fit in the same team. It appears Ramsey is un-droppable so who will miss out – Jack, Coq, Elneny???

  5. RA says:

    Morning, Mickish,and an interesting theory in your Post today.

    On consideration, I suspect that a player more in keeping with a cheap Chinese watch might be what is needed.

    A Swiss watch, as you say, is beautifully designed, reliable and is consistent in the regularity of its timekeeping. As a troglodyte myself I think that is not what is needed, as it may not have been what Mr Wenger was alluding to.

    Why do I say that? Well I think the key word was ‘tempo’ and that is what is needed during any game to adjust the rhythm of the team to the needs of the moment.

    Tempo is somewhat interchangeable with rhythm in this context, and something more akin to the fabled Chinese watch in that the timing is of the – slow, slow, quick, quick, slow movement – something you will be familiar with in your dancing and violin playing moments.

    Arsenal have often been accused by some fans of unnecessarily going pell mell in an undisciplined farrago of all out attack near the end of a game, by trying to score a winner, or equaliser, when they should have been easing things down, smelling the coffee and settling for what they had.
    Many Champions League games have instead been made worse by giving away yet another goal instead and making the second leg far more difficult.

    Alternatively, the team have been known to settle into a soporifically slow approach to games with aimless sideways and backward passing to retain possession when an upbeat, high tempo passing game was what was required to add vigour to the quality of the players’ skills.

    If Mr Granite can be relied on to introduce that rhythmic tempo to the game from midfield, he will be worth his weight in gold – so let’s hope Arsene is correct.

    Saluté mon ami. 🙂

  6. RC78 says:

    The idea for us is to really add more variety to our game by playing more direct football and also taking more chances from outside the box. It asks a lot more from our FB and midfield but we also need players up front that are very intelligent/astute with their runs when it comes to direct play…

  7. Eddie says:

    just don’t let him take pens for Christ’s sake 🙂
    yeah, he looks good. Great name too, Granit!

    ha ha, I was just about to say that his Spanish roots….forget it, his parents are Albanians 🙂 I’ve never heard of an Albanian footballer before

  8. Rasp says:

    I like your theory of tempo Micky. I prefer to call it fluidity. It looks like Granit will keep the ball moving quickly (Elneny is also very good at this). The Aarons and Jacks tend to hold on to the ball too long at times.

  9. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks all,

    Totally agree about the varying the tempo. I was simply trying to shoehorn in some kind of metaphor linking Granit’s Swissness to tempo, timing and finally watches 🙂

  10. chas says:

    Thanks, Micky.

    You’ve got me all excited about going to watch Granit now.

  11. Rasp says:

    My favourite ever Arsenal goal. No player took more than 3 touches. Out of defence to the back of their net in 16 seconds ….

  12. LB says:

    Rousing stuff

    Love it, thanks Micky.

  13. GunnerN5 says:

    Micky he may well be the player we need to make the team tick. In only a short 10 days our season kicks off, win lose or draw I will be with my team all the way.

    In order to maximize our chance of success I still believe that we need an additional FB or CB and more importantly we desperately need to find that elusive player who can score goals on a regular basis. Easy to say but unfortunately no so easy to find 😦 😦

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi RA, nice to see you back.

  15. Eddie says:

    question – was Xabi Alonso really THAT good? I thought he was good, excellent for Pool, but I never had him as world class or anywhere near Viera, Zidane, Scholes, Xavi

    correct me if you must

  16. LB says:

    Zidane should not be in there, he belongs in a more elite group but Alonso should.

  17. LB says:

    Granit is a serious upgrade to that part of the pitch: Flamini, Arteta, Coquelin (different I know, but) and Chambers when needs must or were needed.

    If Giroud gets injured we will have to go through the best part of the season with Walcott as the number 9.

    I can see the problem, you can see the problem, Wenger must be able to see it as well.

    I have faith that he can and will do something about it.

  18. LBG says:

    Thanks for the post Micky.
    Agree with Ra’s interpretation of tempo and Rasp’s assessment of Santa’s importance to a fully flowing Arsenal.
    Hope Granit will hit those occasional long diagonals to compliment Santa’s more dynamic/ defence splitting efforts, AND shoot a lot more from outside the box.
    For myself I believe RAmsey is the “different alternative” to Mezut and don’t believe consequently he is either undroppable or a shoe in.
    My opening 11 would, if all fit, be an attacking:
    Bellerin Mustafi/Gabriel Kos. Montreal
    Cazorla. Granit
    Ox. Ozil. Sanchez
    New CF or Giroud

  19. GunnerN5 says:

    Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere misses friendlies with knee injury

    Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere will miss the final two preseason games with a knee injury.

    Wilshere was included in the squad for games against Viking in Norway on Friday and Manchester City in Sweden on Sunday.

    The England international picked up a patella problem during the Gunners’ tour of California, when he missed the second of two games.

    Manager Arsene Wenger said Wilshere’s problem was minor and had hoped the midfielder could take part in the Scandinavia trip.

    However, the club confirmed on Thursday that Wilshere “drops out of the squad after picking up a knee injury.”

    Wilshere missed nearly all of last season with a broken ankle but played for England at Euro 2016.

    In better news for the Gunners, Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey returned to training on Thursday.

    Centre-back Gabriel Paulista is also back after missing the U.S. trip with tonsillitis as manager Arsene Wenger tries to cope with a shortage of experienced central defenders.

    Per Mertesacker is out with a knee injury, while Laurent Koscielny has yet to return to training after France’s run to the Euro 2016 final.

    Gabriel and Calum Chambers could be the only two senior centre-backs available for the opening Premier League game against Liverpool on Aug.14 unless Wenger can sign a replacement for Mertesacker in the coming days.

  20. Eddie says:

    ok, ikrdi close to signing a deal. peaches – are you pleased?

  21. Eddie says:

    chas – actually, no matter what you stuff your peppers with they will still taste horrible. Don’t waste your time mate. Stuffed marrow or squash ….hm that’s yummy

  22. LB says:

    This is not meant to be provocative, merely to continue the mini debate but I am on the side that Ramsey is now regarded as undropable.

  23. LB says:

    This is meant to be provocative: how can anyone not like roasted red peppers 🙂

  24. LB says:

    With broken feta cheese and fresh oregano on top.

  25. LB says:

    And a drizzle of good olive oil……….

  26. Eddie says:

    feta cheese, oregano and olive oil are all fine without the horrid pepper

    Ramsey is world class for me. And to think that his injury could have been career ending. I recon it takes real character to come back like that. What was his name…Croatian South American, Eduardo? He wasn’t the same, was he? I think he was scared of pain after his brake

  27. Big Raddy says:

    LB. IMO the only use for peppers is to add a bit of colour to a meal. No nutritional value, little taste and best used as goat fodder.

    Thinking of which …. feta cheese. Why?

  28. LB says:

    Little taste, are we talking about the same vegetable? Now I like them raw although I accept they are no great shakes but when roasted the natural sugars caramelise and they come to life.

    Crumble feta cheese and sprinkle oregano and then drizzle a good olive oil………….

    I have just realised you spend a good deal of time in Italy how is it possible that you have never had good roasted red peppers?

    The feta ok, maybe a good pecorino.

    Please notice the emphasis on the word red, not green, not yellow, red is what it is all about.

  29. LB says:

    Going off on a complete tangent.

    Have you seen the Mourinho bullying claim.

    Apparently this time its Schweinsteiger. There is a recurring theme here: he seems to single out a player and then utterly humiliates them.

    He has probably done this throughout his managerial career but the first time that I noticed was Mata when at Chelsea; then, when he shipped him out he picked on Hazard which was weird and now at United he has chosen Schweinsteiger, the only reason I can think that he does this is that he wants to scare the rest of the squad into fearing him and therefore doing what he says and doing it to the nth degree out of fear that they could be next.

    Oh how I want to see them crash and burn.

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    No wonder Eddie likes Granit she is a gran and works in IT! 😍

  31. VP of Oz says:

    OK, I’ve found a gossip/rumour index that is supposedly based on a algorithm. Lets its call it the LOL algorithm –
    “A number of key factors are analysed by the transfer rumour website to give a piece of gossip a rating out of five in terms of how believable it is. The volume of whispers, the authority of the sources and how recent the rumour is are all taken into account by the index.”
    Oguzhan Ozyakup (Besiktas) – 1.0
    Arda Turan (Barcelona) – 1.0
    Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich) – 1.3
    James Rodriguez (Real Madrid) – 1.4
    Mario Mandzukic (Juventus) – 1.5
    Blaise Matuidi (Paris St-Germain) – 1.5
    Jonny Evans (West Brom) 2.5
    Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid) – 2.7
    Karim Benzema (Real Madrid) – 2.8
    Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid) – 3.0
    Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg) – 3.1
    Mauro Icardi (Inter Milan) – 3.6
    Bruno Peres (Torino) – 3.8
    Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia) – 3.9
    Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) – 4.6
    Alexandre Lacazette (Lyon) – 4.8

    I wonder which team has the most player transfer rumours?

  32. LBG says:

    Unfortunately, we are inundated by this Whispers Algorithm if you use the Sky App on mobiles. Doesn’t really do anything more than continually repeat red top guesses at possible (slim mostly) transfer “targets”.

  33. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’ve put something in drafts to stir the blogosphere….but probably won’t be around to play much.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    We play tonight against Vikings. We haven’t got a chance.

    Especially if the Vikings start chanting pre-game and hitting themselves with birch branches as this turns them into a violent, raving pack of berserkers.

    I hope AW uses our reserves and not first team because there is likely to be carnage.

  35. mickydidit89 says:


    A blog stirer, eh. Excellent news. I’m guessing you’ll be having a go at haters of red peppers rather than us armchair fans having a go at the club for not buying the striker we deserve 🙂

  36. mickydidit89 says:

    🙂 🙂 Erik

    Oh no, if that mini Scandi Tour starts today, there presumably won’t be any signings until AW gets back to help the new boy hold up the shirt for the pic

  37. mickydidit89 says:

    19:30 KO live on arsenal site

  38. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Precisely. Hugely disappointing. What is the point to going to Norway to play a team our U-18’s would thrash in front of a crowd of 5k?

  39. mickydidit89 says:


    To make the trip to Norway worthwhile, they could re-enact the sinking of the Turpitz and shit like that

  40. chas says:

    The peppers were flippin gorgeous but unfortunately they had an odd effect.

  41. Eddie says:

    still no good news then?

  42. Shard says:


    To build confidence?

  43. mickydidit89 says:

    Or The Heroes of Telemark where commandos attacked the heavy water plant of the germans

    Sod the game, Arsene. Chuba could pretend to be Richard Harris for starters

  44. Eddie says:

    see, Raddy and I warned you!
    What did you stuff them with, steroids?

  45. chas says:

    The Scandinavian Gooners have always been very passionate, proper supporters, so why not give them a treat?
    Besides we need as much practice as possible at putting the ball in the back of the net. Guaranteed nil-nil.

  46. Eddie says:

    I have never heard of a passionate Scandinavian. I thought they were a bit like reptiles. In fact the ones I met, were devoid of any emotions.

    Carina, girl I knew complained once mater of fact style that she is not feeling well, probably because she had no sex for almost a month. I swear, it true, she said it like I would say ‘I don’t like peppers’

  47. Gööner In Exile says:

    For those with squarepegroundholephobia:

    “I played at Legia Warsaw as a defensive midfielder, but sometimes I was an offensive midfielder,” Bielik told Arsenal Player. “Last season, I remember coming to the under-21s, and [Arsène Wenger] told me that from today I would start training as a centre back.
    “They decided they wanted to try me at centre back, and I started training there. After the first game we played really good, and I felt it was alright. When Arsenal changed my position, I wasn’t very happy because it wasn’t what I loved in football. From a midfielder to a centre back, it was a big difference for me.

    “Now I feel much better, and I feel I can be a really good centre back.

    “When I train with the first team, I feel I’m making really good progress in this position. Compared to three months ago, I have made really good progress. I feel like a really good player now,” he added.

    “I’m happy if I can play. If I can play in the first team, I can play at left back or right back. If Mr. Wenger sees me at centre back and thinks I can be better at centre back than midfielder, I can’t say anything. I just have to train very hard.”

  48. mickydidit89 says:

    Could you bring Carina to a game? Some of the chaps would like to meet her very much indeed

  49. Eddie says:

    GiE – I see, this means we won’t get a defender either. Great.

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    Bloody superb 🙂 🙂 🙂

  51. Eddie says:

    I lost contact long time ago, but she was bigger than most of you 🙂

  52. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh come off it Eddie. We don’t give a rat’s arse about signing defenders, got masses of the wretched things.

    We will sign an attacker, simply a question of what flavour and what quality

  53. chas says:

    We’ve already signed our fax in the box!

  54. Eddie says:

    according to the rags Icardi would love to stay at Milan. Bum.

    micky – we are not getting attackers, so defenders are our only hope for a new toy. But that Bielik thinks he can play in every position and fill in the gaps.

  55. mickydidit89 says:

    Cheeky back heel

  56. chas says:

    For some reason I have this song in my head now, but with Carina instead of Marina. 🙂

  57. Big Raddy says:

    Oh…. Marina. Many a pre-pubescent night spent thinking about that gorgeous little wooden puppet.

    Pre game I am going to watch Heroes of Telemark. Cracking film

  58. Rasp says:

    Morning GiE, would you like me to publish your post in a while?

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    I’m pretty sure that when Carina was feeling “unwell”, the last thing she was after would have been that kind of Erik style lovey dovey leftie wining and dining nonsense, and simply get to the action and get “better”

  60. Eddie says:

    micky is right, she did not have a romantic bone in her body 🙂 Very tall, big all over, not fat, just big, short very blond her, oozing with health and cleanliness, and as boring as hell.

  61. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh. Short hair. Lesbian?

  62. Rasp says:

    I’m going to show myself up as really thick here … but whose face has chas imposed on his @ 8:30

  63. Rasp says:

    🙂 Micky

    Just how tall is she Eddie? 🙂

  64. mickydidit89 says:

    Watch what you say Rasp, Mrs Didit is 6′ 1″
    And not a lesbian as far as I’m aware 🙂

  65. Eddie says:

    if she was a lesbian she definitely did not fancy me. We spent many nights in the same bedroom and nothing. 6’4″, maybe more. And size 11 shoes

  66. mickydidit89 says:


  67. mickydidit89 says:

    6′ 4″. Yikes

  68. Rasp says:

    I’m not going to pick a fight with her Eddie 🙂

  69. Rasp says:

    Thanks Micky … Doh, how stoopid am I?

  70. Rasp says:

    Are you all ready for the new post yet?

  71. Rasp says:

    …. New post …..

  72. LBG says:

    “Corrina, Corrina” Bob Dylan

  73. chas says:

    Wish I had a grey Carina – Tom Robinson

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