Is Xhaka Pants?

Well. is he?

Xhaka has become the butt of the doubters and stands in danger of getting the Eboue, Cygan, Squillaci, Stepanovs or Song treatment. None of them were bad players but only two of them were able to turn the “haters” (horrible modern word).

At Cardiff, Xhaka made 99 passes at a success rate of 86%, almost all of which were forward passes, yet what do most fans focus on? A pass he made up the pitch that led to a goal. Nothing said about the awful defending by the MF’s or the defenders, No, the fault was all Xhaka’s. He was even castigated for taking a yellow stopping a counter-attack,  a tactic we have been calling for. Yes, he has lapses of concentration but he is far and away our best player to distribute the ball after receiving a pass from the CB’s.

What do Emery and Wenger see in him? There must be something as Granit has been first choice for both managers ever since his arrival 3 seasons ago.

The man has a vicious and accurate shot on him. Could it be the coaching which has curbed his ability to score from distance or could it be that he knows the crowd reaction should his shot hit Row X?

Every player needs confidence, they need to feel loved yet the modern fan expects perfection and that pressure can make a player hide. It is the manager who has to help players overcome the pressure.

There are other players whom the faithful have doubts about; Mustafi, Bellerin, Ramsey, Cech and even Ozil. Does open criticism help them improve? My hope is that the players do not watch Arsenal TV which is dominated by airheads.

So, is Xhaka pants? What do you think?

Written by Big Raddy


30 Responses to Is Xhaka Pants?

  1. chas says:

    This comment from RC78 was from yesterday………

    RC78 says:

    Very interesting article about Xhaka on skysports highlighting both his weaknesses and strengths.

  2. LB says:

    Good morning fine people, how are we today?

    Thanks for the read BR.

    I realise that the post reports what others have written about Xhaka rather than purely your own thoughts and that is the way I am answering it.

    Xhaka makes too many school boy errors which lead to goals for the opposition. This is a fact.

    It is then pointed out in his defence that his pass rate is this and his pass rate is that. All of which is irrelevant in my opinion, it is like saying that a goal keeper played really well throughout a game but let in one really silly goal and that goal cost his team the game. In this example, the good stuff that the goalkeeper did, as with Xhaka, is neither here nor there because that error cost his team, or in Xhaka’s case, our team, precious points.

    The upside to this is that as last season went on Xhaka cut these silly mistakes out and started scoring goals which always brings fans onside. Naturally I hope the same happens this season but damage to his reputation of being a liability has already been cemented further.

    Perhaps the one glint of light is that Xhaka who is not a defender — at all — has been asked to, not only play, but to be the principle defensive shield to the defence (the DM) for far too long.

    With the arrival of Torriera, the Swiss will no longer have to play the pure DM role and will be freed up to finally play the role that he is naturally suited to which is slightly ahead of a DM.

    I think it is this possibility that is the reason why people are still being patient with him but that patience wont last long with fans or the new regime, so I would guess that Xhaka has got from now to Christmas to keep his place or if not he will be yesterday’s man in the new year having been completely replaced by Guendouzi.

  3. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks Erik

    I voted NO

    Back later to explain

  4. chas says:

    As far as I’m concerned the answer is simple, No, of course Xhaka isn’t pants, in fact he’s a very good footballer. (though as it stands 40% disagree with me 🙂 )

    Would he get into a top four side? Hmmm, maybe not.

    How many of the rest of our players would get into a top 4 side?

    I ask these questions with an element of tongue in cheek, because I look at some of the players in the teams above us and wonder how they’ve got where they have.

    At one point it looked as though Elneny might free Xhaka up to express himself more further forward but, for some reason, they don’t complement each other.

    As LB points out, the arrival of Torreira opens up new possibilities and I like the prospect of Xhaka or Guendouzi playing as the Uruguayn’s partner depending on who we’re playing.

    It does seem as though it’s a big season for him. I like his wholeheartedness and he obviously loves the Club (mind you, they all seem to). Sometimes he seems a bit lacking care which makes him choose the wrong option but I’d imagine Emery will sort this out quickly.

  5. chas says:

    Hopefully we’ll get a few who’ve voted in the negative to come on and explain why.

  6. chas says:

    Just read the RC78 link.

    In summary it appears to say that defensively he is pants but with the ball at his feet he’s up there with the best.

    I’d imagine that most would agree with that as a summary of Granit as a player.

    The ‘false 10’ description is funny. We’ve got too many already. We certainly don’t need any false ones as well. 🙂

  7. chas says:

  8. mickydidit89 says:


    I completely agree that his schoolboy level lapses still require some shit defending from defenders for the error to convert into a goal against

    LB pretty much has my opinion nailed.

    Granit is never a PL DM, so to judge him as such is nonsense (as has been playing him as one). However, for the first time in yonks we have a true DM in Lucas.

    Chas mentioned selection being dependent on the opposition, and I’d throw in the value of squad depth. However good Guendouzi is, there’s always opportunities and game time due to rotation and cover for injuries.

  9. LBG says:

    So Chas, I will take up your challenge ( you knew I would!).
    Xhaka is pants.
    Firstly a statistics quote “Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable”.
    I base my argument on the Sky article referred to first by RC78, and also on my opinion/impression.
    Negative case for Xhaka being pants:- No 1 in fouls committed, bookings, times dribbled passed and tackles lost. “Too risky to keep on the field” after his first booking (Dick). “Reluctance to track back in defence”, and I would add, even more significantly IMO, not even move towards when closest, an attacking player in the box, about to score( on more than one occasion).!!
    Positive case for Xhaka not being pants:- 1.
    Xhaka “was involved in more passes INTO the final third” than Torreira and Ouzi together. And this statistic was linked to a question about whether T and O together would ( or would not) produce more “penetrative” or “creative” passes, if they were the partnership.
    2. Xhaka “was INVOLVED in more passing sequences which led to an open play shot on goal” than anyone else in the team.
    3. Xhaka certainly has a powerful left foot shot which has been successfully, goalwise, on occasions.
    Well you would expect me to base my argument on my capitals in the ” positive argument, so I will.
    I believe that, given time on the field together to develop a partnership, T and O would produce just as many and more “penetrative” and “creative” passes than Xhaka does. This is based on watching the type of passes both choose to look for when they are playing. Especially O looks to split the lines with forward, dynamic passes and, of course, because he takes this gamble, can fail. Xhaka attempts a range of passes INTO the final third certainly, but rarely are they penetrative or creative, for instance in terms of assists. ( I include in this part of my argument, my belief that AMN can do the “range of passes” role as well/better than Xhaka, AND has tricks, dribbling ability and pace!)
    The Sky article commented that Xhaka “flies under the radar most” (what, more than Mesut!!!?) in term of involvement in passing sequences leading to open play shots on goal. Sure, but what was the importance level of his involvement in those passing sequences? I would say 3/10 generally. Sorry, my opinion.
    So having put myself up for a thrashing! Proven, Xhaka is pants!

    To conclude another statistics quote “Statistically speaking, there is a 65% chance that the love of your life is having an affair”

  10. RC78 says:

    IMHO, we can only keep Xhaka if he plays CM-Right and is absolved of defensive duties and he is paired with LT and Ouzi in a midfield 3. This would also mean not playing Ramsey or Ozil and I would rather play one of them over Xhaka.

    Also – we are pants defensively and we can’t win games without having a solid defense first to build upon so based on this fact only, I would put him on the bench and pair up LT and Ouzi in a 4-2-1-2-1 set up

    LT, Ouzi – Ramsey – Miky/Ozil, Auba – Laca
    LT, Ouzi – Ramsey – Miky, Ozil – Auba

    Xhaka could then come in the game to replace wither Ramsey, Miky or Ozil.


    Cheers Raddy

    Yes, Xhaka is shit, but he’s still pretty good.

    The problem for Xhaka is that he’s a Swiss Albanian. I have visited both Tirana and Zurich and can sympathise with the terrible dichotomy our shit but pretty good midfielder has to deal with.

    In Tirana, crossing the road is a matter of outrunning the charge of horse & cart. The riders, usually afflicted with chronic gum disease, care little for the safety of pedestrians or anti bacterial mouth wash, so it becomes a life or death situation. If your lucky enough to survive, your presented with a hefty dentistry bill. It then follows that you need to be fleet of foot and wear false teeth, yet Xhaka has excellent molars, and is slow as well as one footed?

    I believe the answer lies in Zurich. On my first day there I noticed 99% of the population had the perfect fake smile. Which I found very disconcerting. However the real eye opener as to why Xhaka is a bit shit is when I went to cross a road. The crossing was red but there was no oncoming traffic, but despite this, a dozen or so perfectly teethed Swiss waited at the light refusing to cross? Getting a bit narked, I tentatively placed my left foot on to the road and a women sensing I was from London shouted “stop you horrible man”

    Frozen to the spot, I could no longer hold back and as I went to put my right leg forward a mans voice from behind yelled “that is a violation Englander”. Disturbed by events and fearing German Swiss retribution I hopped all the way across. Whilst hopping I could hear shouts of “your never be a balanced midfielder dummkopf”

    Hopefully this explanation will gain the maligned Xhaka some much needed sympathy

  12. chas says:

    Poor Xhaka 🙂

  13. Jimmy B says:

    Xhaka’s a very good footballer.

  14. mickydidit89 says:

    Transplant 🙂

  15. mickydidit89 says:

    And The Not Pants Party have it, by 70 votes to 37

    I’m surprised as I generally expect the against voters to come out in greater numbers

    Morning one and all

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Not much to talk about really. Anyone interested in the Booze shame of Hugo Lloris? No?

    We could discuss whether the absence of the booze culture in English football has led to a more bland product with less “characters (i.e. piss artists)

  17. mickydidit89 says:

    Who the hell is Hugo Lloris? 🙂

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    No post in the bank, Erik?

    I could do a quickie, but it really will have to be a quickie as I’m up to me gills

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    I’m on it

  20. LB says:

    Seems like the outcome of the poll is that 64.42% think Xhaka is Boxers and 34.58% think he is Y fronts.

    Interesting, I expected it to be the other way round.

  21. LB says:

    Big Tone got sent to jail for what seems like exactly the same offence as Hugo Lloris……..not fair, not fair at all.

  22. chas says:

    I’m not keen on boxers – too much swinging free.
    Prefer more of a hipster trunk myself.

  23. chas says:

    I’ll sort your post when it arrives, Micky.

  24. chas says:

    I didn’t realise Lloris wasn’t playing when the spuds lost to Watford.

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    SENT, thanks Chas. Must dash

  26. mickydidit89 says:

    ps I think LB will be the best at answering my Q

  27. chas says:

    Lloris was two times over the limit.

    This was the rumour at the time for Big Tone…..

    “However the Arsenal and England defender’s arrest in 1990, for crashing his car into a wall near his house while allegedly 27 times over the legal limit, is perhaps the most spectacular example.”

  28. chas says:


  29. fred1266 says:

    Yea he was actually injured at the time

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