If Only Granit was Rock Solid … The Xhaka Debate …

Following our defeat last Sunday, the discussion began to focus on the role of Granit Xhaka.


In many ways it was a typical Xhaka performance.

Could it be that we are looking for the next weak link as the new players arrive and consequently the quality of the squad improves?

Is Granit part of that mind-set that has taken defeat too philosophically in recent years? I want our players to really hurt after a poor performance, and like me, I want that hurt to go on for days .. usually right up to the next game and the opportunity for redemption.

I want a player in his position to orchestrate the game, to be the solid anchor that holds everything together, who protects the defence and instigates the attacks. A player who can drive the play forward … a leader.

Others sought a more technical analysis of Granit’s role in the side. Here are some very interesting takes on his effect on the team:


The area that actually concerned me most was the base of our midfield. I think as much as we talk about our CD, it is the porous lack of protection directly in front of the back line that is a major cause of concern with me. We certainly need to be looking at our central defence independently, but we need to consider that first line of defence, their screen, as well.

In our line up yesterday that chief responsibility should have fallen on Xhaka, but I watched carefully, and for me he was constantly positioning himself about 10m too far forwards leaving dangerous players on our goal side of him, when it probably should be the other way around.

He lacks pace so does not make up that ground if they gain possession, so the defence are massively exposed and caught between retreating towards goal or having one of them step out to try and cut off what the defensive midfield should for the most part be dealing with.

It is almost as if he doesn’t see it as his role and sees himself as more a creator, and that this responsibility should fall to others to pick up the mantle. Interestingly that was his role before he came to us and he was always paired with someone who covered behind him defensively more.

The problem here is that often more creative players than him end up holding a deeper position to cover for his wanderlust, and I saw that on a few times with Ceballos at times.

Also, the odd Hollywood ball or decent forward pass at times aside, Xhaka actually slows our game down to much and we lack forward momentum. I actually started to feel that I was watching a more shouty, face scowly, Denilson.

It wouldn’t surprise me that, like Denilson, Xhake has great stats for touches on the ball and number of passes and completion rate, but most of the time they are very reserved and safe and don’t make anything happen.

I noted that Ceballos drove us forward far more effectively when he got on the ball so he shouldn’t be covering defensively behind Xhaka. Neither should Torreira when he comes back who I also feel has more forward incisive play in him than Xhaka, and I still maintain that Iwobi could be an excellent forward thinking BTB player as well.

It all makes me wonder exactly what he specialises in and brings to us. He seems to not want to be the chief DM, so we are left still searching for that player, but in the role he seems to prefer for himself we have better options.

I kind of feel that Douzi is also a bit Xhaka like in that assessment at present as I have watched him more but at his age can develop in a couple of potential directions more so should stay with us, maybe not regular first team standard yet though. When those 2 play together I don’t feel we look that strong or balanced.

If we were to bring in a specialist holding midfielder (with what we seem to be about to spend elsewhere) we need to free up squad space, funds and wages. I just feel he is not quite right for us and we aren’t balanced in midfield with him. Again I feel he is probably a good CM at a slightly lower level.

Mike M’s response:

Gooner B, agree wholeheartedly. I think my question is how does UE see these players. I agree giving the young players game time is a good idea but he is playing Xhaka and Mustafi as well as the other 4 i mentioned too. Does that mean in his mind they’re staying to be part of the squad for next season?

I’m not sure so that’s my question. I’ll say this too, however unpopular it might be, I’d take Mustafi’s effort and attitude (I really think he tries hard, he’s just not very good or smart) over Xhaka, Miki, Ozil any day. I still think he needs to go, but I’m really stuck on attitude and mentality with this team right now. Am I wrong? Are there any positives in mentality we can take from what we’ve seen so far.

This from LBG

More high class, spot on analysis of Xhaka! Your analysis of his positional sense as a central midfielder is exactly mine. I believe he does not regard it as his responsibility either to hold a defensive position when we don’t have the ball or make a corrective run to pick up loose attacking players in dangerous forward positions. I believe in fact this the crux of our defensive frailty- ” the base of the midfield “.

As most know, I don’t even regard highly his so called spray passing ability as he is too slow in those passes and they are quite often cut out. Given his lack of pace too, he’s argumentative, sometimes ridiculously, attitude to officials, one might guess I have little regard for him and believe any success in the Swiss team is largely due to the quality around him. Said, done, nothing more from me on Xhaka, except an hooray if we sell him.

RC78’s view:

I am a firm believer that having Mustafi and Xhaka on the pitch for us will continue to hamper our chances and will lead to goals and chances conceded. If I could sell only 2 players, they would be my top pick. I d rather give Bielik and Chambers a chance than to see Xhaka and Mustafi play for us again.

You may see the above comments as harsh criticism. We should not be looking for the next scapegoat. The abuse directed at Mustafi shames us all. Any player wearing the shirt should get our unconditional support at games.

So try to be objective and let us know how you value Xhaka’s role in the team.



103 Responses to If Only Granit was Rock Solid … The Xhaka Debate …

  1. Lumia f kpengba says:

    GunnerB, i also agree with you n would prefer us using torrera in that department of the DM role , he is quick, composed and passes accuracy is his trade name. I watched Torrera played that role upon his arrival n did very well as compared to xaka

  2. Matt says:

    It seems to me that Xhaka plays 3 positions for arsenal in the centre but none of them very well. A jack of all trades. He isn’t a defensive midfielder with an ability to read the game and make tackles. Too often he is caught too high up the pitch and can’t make up up the ground to recover. Another habit of his when he does try to recover his position is he switches off to opposition midfielders runs into space but instead gets dragged towards the ball effeftivrly trying to double up on the opposing winger while leaving huge gaps in the centre of the park.
    Neither is he an effective deep lying creative midfielder. We have been spoilt in years gone by of creative central midfielders, Cazorla being the pick for me. Xhaka effectively just links the play with a short sideways pass, no real direct passes cutting open defences. He may occasionally he play the Hollywood pass over the top. But if balls over the top is one of his strengths it makes you wonder why he won’t play on the counter more and try to unleash Aubameyang with long balls.
    Finally, he isn’t not an effective box to box midfielder. Running with the ball isn’t not a strength of his and he doesn’t have the pace or the engine to really drive the team forward.
    I believe we should look to secure a proper sitting midfielder to allow the rest of the players to concentrate on their respective roles within the side cause with Xhaka it feels like he is the one holding the side back during games.
    Long ramble over
    Thanks for coming to my Ted Talks

  3. Jd says:

    For me, granite xhaka, ozil and Mustafi is our weak link, the position that xhaka plays needs a more discipline type and tactical dept, he loose d ball too often, so many goals has been conceded because of these lapses frm him, he gets targeted and get disposed of the ball too easily

  4. chris says:

    Xhaka is NOT a defensive midfielder. Not capable of protecting the back line well. He passes well and can sometimes hit a big shot. But very slow – too slow to be a success in the EPL.

  5. Rasp says:

    Hi Matt, a lot to agree with there … and yet Arsene seemed to love Xhaka and UE seems to favour him in the ‘miscellaneous midfield role’.

    Like you, I can’t see quite what his brief is because he’s not outstanding in anything except the occcasional thunderbolt shot.

  6. RA says:

    There are players over the years who have divided fan opinions some of which have become irreconcilable.

    I, like many others, thought that we had at last got the strong, holding midfielder we needed when confirmation of Xhaka’s signing was confirmed.

    It became obvious early on that he ran like he was trudging through sticky toffee and his irascible temper came through too, and bookings became the norm.

    There were compensating factors too. He had a very good cross field pass, and that came with a powerful shot too – (how the crowd like to urge him to “Shooooot”.

    We have had much worse players than him, and the criticism is a little disproportionate, but does he make me feel good that he is in our team? No. Does he fit in with Arsenal’s needs? No.

    Others are perfectly entitled to their opinions, which may be different to that.

    Criticism of someone else’s opinion can quickly become vitriolic and personalised, but remember, the purpose of a blog like AA is that bloggers can expect to express their opinions without being called morons or clowns etc — sadly there has been some of that recently — fortunately there are plenty of other blogs for those who like to indulge in that sort of thing.

  7. Rasp says:

    Hi Redders, nice to see you on as always. Have I missed something. or are you referring to another site?

  8. Crispen says:

    I think the biggest waste is using AMN at right back. Any combo at the base of midfield with AMN is better than one with Xhaka.
    Xhaka is slow, we need someone more athletic in that position.
    Why did Patrick and whoever else was next to him work like a charm?
    Xhaka is suited to the slower continental leagues. Or the west ham level squads.
    I don’t ee him as a starter by end of this season.

  9. RC78 says:

    Xhaka cannot play as a 6/DM. He is a slow 8/CM that we are forcing in a DM position because he s our best option in this position.

    I think that many recognized that Xhaka has a good attitude and has a decent passing and long shooting range but he s made many mistakes and also rash decisions that put the team in trouble time and time again.

    I d like to sell him but if he stays, I don’t want him to play as DM because he does not have the right competencies to play this position. At best, he should be a CM.

    I think that we re better off playing Chambers as a DM until we recruit a true 6.


  10. RC78 says:

    Crispen – fully agree on AMN.

    I think AMN, Chambers would work better than Torreira, Xhaka purely because of Xhaka.

    Also fully agree that Mustafi – Xhaka – Ozil can be disposed of. You can add Jenko and El Neny to the list but I believe in terms of our high profile players that need to leave the 3 players mentioned first can be invited to go…

    Mustafi would do fine in the French, Portuguese, Turkish and Italian leagues. He should just leave – for 20-25 Mln, let s get rid of him

    Xhaka would do well in the Italian, French and Turkish league. Maybe Lazio or Milan or Fenerbace or Marseille could be interested.

    Ozil can play anywhere but maybe going back to Germany or Spain would suit him best and the last option being Turkey.

    If Fenerbace came with a deal for Mustafi – Xhaka – Ozil between 60 and 75 Mln, we should just accept it.

  11. Peterson Maish says:

    I seem to agree with most of the commentators here. The hoodoo of yester years when we used Denilson as our DM is back. When we play Xhaka and Torreira, there is a bit of stability as opposed to Xhaka and Guendozzzi as both seek to venture forward and leave us exposed, with both of them lacking any creativity that threatens our opponents. But still Xhaka and Torreira do not seem to know who between them is the DM-proper.
    I have been one harsh critic of Mustafi but on a second thought, I think his weaknesses are magnified by lack of that protective shield in defensive midfield. Still, as much as I agree with one commentator that he tries really hard, he is still not good enough for Arsenal.
    Said and done, if all the rumors turn out to be true, we are covered upfront, actually, in excess, but we are still need a CB to cover for one of the Socratis-Holding pairing. I think one will do because Monreal and Chambers can cover for a few weeks of injury to either, with the risk of a few dropped points if that axis is disturbed.
    Monreal, as much as he is ageing, is much better than inconsistent Kolasinac. I think at RB we are good to go with the rapid development in confidence and ability of Niles, as good cover for Bellerin.
    By the way, what on earth would happen if, God forbid, Leno was to pick up a knock? Is Martinez good enough at the big stage? I don’t think so.

  12. Sue says:

    Oh I am so po’d right now 😠 Finally get through to Arsenal – after what seemed like an eternity – to be told the spud game is now sold out!! 😭
    Going to have to religiously check the ticket exchange!!!

    As for Xhaka, so easily dispossessed and his misplaced passes – oh my!!! Tbh I did say I was done with him, after the Brighton game!!
    I can’t see him being sold though, think UE likes him as much as Arsene did. Haha maybe he’ll score later – a screamer, perhaps?!!

  13. Sim says:

    Individual Xhaka mistakes led directly to SEVEN goals last season. That is apart from the FOUR penalties he gave away. Without the Brighton penalty where the guy was virtually off the field before his idiotic shove, we would be playing Champions League football this season.

    If it puts it in context, Mustafi had THREE individual mistakes that led directly to goals.

    He is such a liability. Let’s use Chambers or even Bielik who will at least show heart rather than indifference.

  14. fred1266 says:

    Lumia I aggressive I actually hope torriera and willock can be our CDM for this season with chamber also getting a run there

  15. fred1266 says:

    Should we be having 2 guess protecting the back for or just one if one then torreira willock can ne that guy

  16. fred1266 says:

    How would you compare xhaka to arteta to me I find them similar but for some reason I find xhaka way worse than arteta

  17. RA says:

    Hi Sue,

    Getting tickets for the biggest games is often near impossible. You have my sympathy.

    Some years ago, I had decided to go back to the States, and gave up the two season tickets I held.

    Then, within weeks, I was offered another UK job, took it, and cursed myself that I was then ticketless and have occasionally lamented doing so, again, when the Spuds, Manure, City etc have come calling at the Ems! 😒

    C’est la vie.

    I had hoped you would get your wish for Zaha to come to the Arsenal, before Peepee became a serious target.

    The more so as he (or his brother on his behalf) said he had been a Gunners fan since childhood.

    Then realised I was far to believing when I heard something similar when the Arsenal passed him by, and the Spuds were mentioned, and it appears he was also a Chicken fan from childhood.

    [Not sure there was any truth in either of those comments – so your man should get the benefit of the doubt] 🤪

  18. Rasp says:

    Hi fred, Arteta was the defensive lynchpin shielding our back four for several seasons. Like Gilberto, he could read the game very well, and also like Giberto he wasn’t a standout player, but the job he did was vital to the team. Sadly Xhaka is of an entirely different mindset.

  19. RA says:


    What the Rasper said. 🤠

  20. GoonerB says:

    Cheers Rasp

    Can I first say that I hope Fred and LBG didn’t mind me using some of their comments on the wing post. It was to emphasise some different considerations and opinions as to how to deploy these players, that I feel are very important to our balance and progression this forthcoming season.

    Well Rasp, I hate to demonise any player still plying their trade with us and now I read what I said I feel a tad guilty in pointing the finger at Granit. I think maybe RA is maybe right that it is a bit disproportionate as he isn’t a bad player.

    It is maybe more just that he is a pIayer that is not totally suited to the upper levels of the EPL, and also one that we don’t really need right now, or that we already have better options than. I think I agree with those that he would shine in a different league more.

    I tend to feel we are edging towards a 4-3-3 (or variation of this) and that the middle 3 need to comprise a more specialist sitting / holding midfielder, a sublime creative ACM midfielder, and a dynamic more box to box type that links these 2.

    Granit doesn’t suit, or seem to want the holding role. He is not quite the sublime creative ACM either, and we have better players for that role. It leaves him as that link type BTB player in the CM 3. In the EPL I feel that player has to be a bit more athletic and quick, and also be able to carry the ball and get away from closing down opposition players if an immediate pass is not always available.

    Granit lacks the pace and ability to do this last bit which is why I feel he gets caught on the ball too often and surrenders possession in dangerous areas, and has to play many sideways or backwards passes as his only option. Personally I feel Torreira, Iwobi, Willock and possibly AMN or Micki all have that greater dynamic ball carrying ability.

  21. Sue says:

    Kolasinac & Ozil haven’t travelled to France… 😩😭
    Hello RA.. now I’ve got over my little hissy fit, I’ve realised all hope isn’t lost, just yet, I still have options! So I may just get there…..

    If you don’t mind me asking…being American and all, how exactly did you become a gooner?

    You are correct as you say C’est la vie… (although I probably would have said 💩 happens 😂😂) I do sympathise with you on that though, as it’s not like you can get them back, is it? What with that mother of all waiting lists!! I’ll probably be offered one when I’m in my 90’s – if I’m very lucky – 😄
    Do you still get to go on occasion?

  22. GoonerB says:

    The one player I may be at odds with many is Ozil, who I feel could be the beneficiary of the shift in formation and the players within it. I felt we probably should have moved him on with the way the Arsenal squad had been shaping up in the last few years but if we are moving to a pacey front 3 with overlapping FB’s and 2 CM’s sitting in behind him we could finally be setting up in a way that brings his sublime talent to the fore.

    I don’t feel we have ever had the right set up for him ever since we bought him but now I actually feel this could be his moment in the next 2 seasons coming up, and in reality we will not get him off our books with the wages issue, so I would rather embrace him again and put faith in him, because I just have this feeling that he will thrive with the new set up and the variety of pacey players moving around him.

  23. RA says:

    Gooner B,

    I still have hopes that Mesut will ‘click’ back into his old majestic standards, with different players coming in, and different team tactics to embrace the new skills – especially Pepe.

    Well said, sir. 😳

  24. RA says:

    I hope you manage to get your ticket, Sue, and the Ticket Fairy, aka Peaches, has sometimes been able to help AA bloggers, I think.

    I do still get the odd chance to get to games, but there are a lot of demands on my time, as I move around the country quite a lot.

    I became a gunner as a kid, as my father travelled a lot in his work, and I went to school in the UK for a time when I was very young.

  25. fred1266 says:

    The next person who suggests we sell jenkinson will be paying for those comments

  26. fred1266 says:

    Nope even if xhaka is crap as his position it has nothing to do with mustafi and his crazy defending, he just gets the basic wrong prime example fouling Kane last season given away a stupid penalty, trying cut the passing lane of attacker but mis judging leaving a clear lane to the goal

  27. fred1266 says:

    Have u watch preseason Peter yes I think Martinez is good enough, don’t really understand the comment cause which of the other top 4 sides has a good enough keeper

    We don’t even know spurs keeper

    From that list who would you choose

    Also the season ent start why we even discussing injuries

  28. fred1266 says:

    Yea sue I saw the email this morning and I was really surprised there wasn’t even bad seats available

    Don’t forget sue u are supposed to come to one of out games between December 1 and 15

  29. fred1266 says:

    I disagree arteta wasn’t a traditional CDM but just knew how to play his role properly

    And I don’t disagree I loved the guy after the screams at city he could do no wrong

  30. LB says:

    The poll that I would like to see is one that asks: how many people have actually seen AMN play in midfield?

    We are used to his lackadaisical lapses at RB which he just about gets away with but those lapses will be magnified at the foot of the midfield.

    The irony of this is that today’s post is about the error prone Xhaka and the goals that come from his mistakes.

    Did anyone actually notice AMN playing in midfield on Sunday; he is no where near ready to take on such a vital role in the EPL.

    Europa, Coca Cola maybe………

  31. fred1266 says:

  32. LB says:

    And to counter balance that comment I just want to jump on the Willock band wagon.

    I hadn’t seen him play for a while and wow has he improved and beefed up as well, I wasn’t expecting that. Looks like good things are coming our way from that direction.

    It seems that competition for the place just behind the front line is: Ozil, Ceballos, Willock and Iwobi

  33. LB says:

    The only way I can make head or tail of that squad is that UE is saving his bigger hitters for the Barcelona game.

  34. fatgingergooner says:

    I think the Xhaka/Torreira partnership was our strongest last season and despite what everyone says and thinks about Granit, I don’t see anyone in the squad that’s quite good enough to break that up just yet. Regardless of formation, we will always need at least 2 out and out central midfielders in there so unless Geundouzi, Chambers or AMN suddenly make huge improvements, then Xhaka is first choice.

    Playing 2 out of Willock, Özil, Ceballos would be far too attacking and would leave us even more open than we currently are. Torreira is great, but we don’t control the ball as well as City do and we don’t defend from the front as well as City do, so expecting Torreira to mop up behind Auba/Laca/Özil/Pepe/Ceballos (ala Fernandinho) would be too much to ask.

    What I ask myself when I look at Xhaka is what does he bring to the side. Well, he’s left footed, so he brings balance to the midfield, he’s good in the air and clears many set pieces and corners (something which I think goes unnoticed), and he’s got a good delivery when we have attacking set pieces. He’s also an excellent passer of the ball and although he gets it wrong sometimes (which somehow always seems to result in us conceding even if the mistake is 60 yards from our goal!) he does get a lot right and his balls down the left wing especially set up many of our attacks. He’s far from perfect, and if we had unlimited cash we’d probably all replace him, but there are certainly other areas of the team that require far more urgent upgrades right now and that’s the reason I believe we will see him starting for at least another 12-18 months. If he doesn’t improve, then I imagine he will be out of the team after that, but for now, I think it’s simply a case of ‘we could do a lot worse’.

  35. Rasp says:

    Willock announced himself on the bigger stage when he came on and made such an impact in the EL final. He’s where A M-N was a year ago and as far as I can see is progressing at such a rate that it would be unwise to send him out on loan if he can get a spot on the bench and game time wherever possible.

    Iwobi is the one I fear for. I can’t see where he fits in with Pepe and Ceballos in conrtention.

  36. fred1266 says:

    Ok did I miss the game cause I swear AMN was at RB

    One reason I think AMN would excel in a midfield role because I expect him to be similar to Ramsey once he not the man DM we should be fine

    LB did u see how willock played on Sunday that what I typical expecting from from AMN

  37. fred1266 says:

    Funniest thing I heard whole year Xhaka good in the year

  38. fred1266 says:

    Yea I would give saka, Nelson and nketiah a spot over iwobi to be honest

  39. Rasp says:

    Fred, I’d persevere with Iwobi …. he’s 80% of a good EPL player … remember when Raheem Sterling was being written off because he lacked end product and was guilty of poor decision making. Sometimes it’s a case of the manager and the supporters believing in a player.

  40. Mike M says:

    Morning all. I think i”m stuck on this but here goes. When was the last time you’ve seen an Arsenal player (never mind captain) go have a serious word with one of our players after we concede a goal or make a fundamental mistake. Rasp talks about the hurt and passion we feel as fans. Where is it on the field? Clenched fists and flaming eyes were a trademark of our most successful teams under AW. Freddie could put it about and was nicknamed “Firey Freddie” for a reason. He was 5′ 10″ 11 stone.
    There’s a difference between the best teams who seem to be machine like and the rest. The difference is work rate and high press. Everyone good is doing it and with it comes a passion and desire to win that is infused into those teams. That’s why Manure suck right now, they (like us) don’t have it.
    We can talk about Xhaka’s lack of speed, skill or positional sense all we want but his lack of passion is what I see as his biggest problem. And it filters through our whole team. Are AMN and Joe W going to watch this guy and be inspired? As I said about Mustafi, he’s crap but at least he looks like he cares. Just watch this below then tell me that a manager can’t make a difference to how his players play. Go to 38 seconds and you’ll see. The commentator even calls it:

    Yes that’s Robert Firmino, Brazil and Liverpool center forward winning a ball back in a way that I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Xhaka do.
    So my issue is of course with Xhaka, but as I said a few weeks ago, if Emery continues to play him and accept this level of performance. where’s the real problem? I’m an Emery fan, make no mistake, but this troubles. me.

  41. fred1266 says:


    AMN. Chamber Sokratis Thompson

    Willock Guendouzi

    Aubameyang mkhitaryan Nelson


  42. fred1266 says:

    80% lol good one

  43. fred1266 says:

    Good point with sterling though but can’t see it and don’t emery can either cause we wouldn’t be looking a LW

  44. fred1266 says:

    Well said Mike

  45. GoonerB says:

    You may be right FGG. I have friends who are season ticket holders who see Xhaka differently to me and will champion him. He does have some obvious qualities but if we are to play him regularly and effectively I think he needs a midfield minder alongside him who will cover behind him to give us balance.

    Is that Torreira? Now we have seen Torreira over a season I feel the same about him, that he really needs a midfield minder to cover behind him. Both to me look like the transitional CM’s operating between the defensive holding CM and the creative ACM. They may have looked the strongest partnership last year but I feel it is an area of the pitch that could be made even more balanced and stronger.

    If those 2 are our strongest combination, and we operate a front 3 (with Laca, Auba and Pepe, and Nelson, Nketieh and Saka as back up) then there is only 1 CM position left to fill and (from the players we have at present) we have to select that from Ozil, Micki, Gouzi, Elneny, Willock, Iwobi.

    I still feel we are overstocked in these positions and some tougher decisions need to be made. If there is a player that is good but not quite good enough, but who would likely be in demand overseas we could get some much needed funds to spend elsewhere.

    We will soon see what happens as we enter the season FGG. This could be a key and interesting area of the squad though to see if UE can get this right.

  46. GoonerB says:

    Keep missing Ceballos from the list. Even more CM’s to consider.

  47. fred1266 says:

    You think elneny will still be with us when season come honestly cannot see him getting games especially with ceballos and the emergence of willock

  48. fred1266 says:

  49. Sue says:

    Hopefully not too much longer until Pepe is unveiled! Just saw his stats compared to Mkhi/Iwobi…. very excited about him 👌
    I’m still seeing reports about how we’re going to go with one more bid for Zaha… really Surely not… although I’d certainly welcome it!! This transfer window has gone crazy!! In a way I’ll be glad when it closes 😄

  50. Sue says:

    Fred.. maybe Monday onwards will be our exodus… looks like we’ll lose Bielik & Koscielny… and we all know who else needs to go!! Maybe sell a few & bring in 1, maybe 2 more??
    Edu’s son (he’s 15) is coming to Arsenal… and btw, Fred, I agree with you about Iwobi..

  51. fred1266 says:

    Well can’t wait for Monday sue lol

  52. GoonerB says:

    No Fred, I don’t expect Elneny to be with us. I’ve said this before but I actually see Iwobi as a CM rather than winger but UE likely doesn’t. I don’t see him as a traditional wide player who will take on a FB out wide or cut in and send a curler towards the top corner.

    I think his strength, pace, ball carrying ability and clever feet would be best suited to the heart of midfield, so I feel he is out of position currently.

  53. GoonerB says:


    This season Auba and Laca and Pepe will score 90 goals between them 🙂

  54. LBG says:

    “Dynamic ball carrying ability”
    And Smith-Rowe and new loan player, even.

  55. LBG says:

    Jenkinson has an Arsenal heart, but a lower division ability!

  56. GoonerB says:

    Indeed LBG. I’m a fan of ESR and Ceballos looked decent as well in his cameo. With all those options I would like to see a real BTB player in that CM. I feel we slow it down too much at present, and have for a while now, and often lack forward momentum and incisiveness. We have the players to do this but with all our potential CM options UE has a job making the right choices.

  57. LBG says:

    Again Fred I think you have it the wrong way around….the question is because the base of the midfield and Xhaka in particular is crap has this made Mustafi and the central defence seem more crap than necessary. I would tend to think possibly. But Mustafi and Xhaka, IMO, are both poor quality in Arsenal terms, ie not even journeyman squad players as for instance Flamini always was.

  58. Aaron says:

    From yesterday, Pepe will play on the right, like Hazard on the left and Mahrez on the right.

    Today, fine analysis by many members.

    The key here is to remember the players do not play in a vacuum and affect other players in their respective positions or not.

    Xhaka, along with Mesut, Miki, Sok, Mustafi, Kola and Monreal when played together is a defensive calamity that will happen!
    So, the question is who would work best in combination in front of our porous defense? If you can even call it that.

    I believe part of the problem is Emery’s insistence of playing a high line with immovable objects waiting to be walked on by. For Pete’s sake, make a damn change to that.

    The real question is what 4 players will be playing in the center of defense in a 4-3-3 and what 4 players will be playing in a 4-2-3-1?

    Will tell you who I do not want to see: Mustafi, Xhaka, and Sok being played together-at all!

  59. RA says:

    I like the Iwobi man!! 😁

    He has pace, skill, gutsand he gets the ball into the box, mostly stuck to his toe.

    His problem is that he does not have much of an end product. Maybe because he seems obliged to try and give it to one or other of his more experienced team mates, rather than take on the shot himself.

    On the rarer times he does shoot, he sometimes buggers it up, and in his own mind it probably confirms to himself, and the 60,000 fans watching, that he should have passed it to …. one of his more experienced team mates ….. and so the cycle repeats itself.

    If I was the coach or the captain – I would tell him to keep trying to finish his approach work with a goal, even if he looks as if he is being greedy. To hell with that. All the great goal scorers are thought of as greedy — and they are — but that makes them winners.

    Finally, what is all this stuff about “I don’t see where ‘X’ gets to play in the team” — winning the EPL is all about the squad. Every game we start with 11 players and up to three substitutes can come on out of seven on the bench.
    If someone has a stinker, or is injured or needs to be rested, or to go off for tactical reasons– then off they come, and on goes the relevant substitute.

    It is more than who is in the team — the question is, who iin the squad s good enough to come on when needed, so ‘that’s when X’ or “Y” or “Z” are plucked from the seven on the bench, and they are all important cogs in the football team.

    Go Iwobi — start scoring and you will be great.

  60. Aaron says:


    Because the other 7 pick themselves, as do their substitutes and rotational players.

    The other 4, who knows, surely Emery does not!

  61. Sue says:

    RA.. “Go Iwobi” – yes anywhere you like – championship, Bundesliga, Eredivisie, anywhere you like 🤣 sorry, I couldn’t resist, RA. Please don’t bombard me with abuse!! Just think – it’d be boring if we all thought the same way! 😝

  62. fatgingergooner says:

    Can’t disagree with that RA.

    Emery played various systems last season so of course we will require both the traditional wide players (Iwobi, Pepe, Auba, Mkhy seem to fit that best), the more narrow attacking midfielders (Özil, Ceballos, Willock, Mkhy, Iwobi all capable of that role), and then at times we may play 2 up top (Auba, Laca, Pepe, Martinelli could be options).

    Our attacking options look a little better than last season but still plenty of work to be done defensively. Emery spoke about keeping the full backs tighter this year and I imagine on the back of that we will see a lot more of the back 4 than a back 3. That thinking, along with the signing of Pepe, may then indicate that we are looking to play with width further up the field so a change back to the 4231 might be on the cards. If so, then expect to see Auba out on the left again this season and Özil in the 10 (predominantly sharing with Ceballos).

  63. fatgingergooner says:

    AMN Sokratis Mustafi Kolasinac
    Torreira Xhaka
    Pepe Özil Auba

    Probably our strongest starting team at the beginning of the season with Holding and Bellerin still to slot in when fit. Many will want Mustafi out but I’m not sure I trust Chambers (better in midfield) or Monreal (getting old and really only good as a CB in a 3) any more than I do Mustafi. Ideally we get Rugani or someone else in on loan for the year to cover that LCB position.

    AMN Sokratis Mustafi Kolasinac
    Ceballos Torreira Xhaka
    Lacazette Aubameyang

    If we play the diamond then this might allow us to get Caballos in the side and play 2 up top. Difficult to get Pepe in that team though.

    AMN Sokratis Mustafi Kolasinac
    Geundouzi Torreira Xhaka
    Pepe Lacazette Aubameyang

    A standard 433 with us playing 3 CM’s. Worked really well at home to Chelsea last season. If Ceballos is disciplined enough then he could start as one of the middle 3.

    Mustafi Sokratis Monreal
    AMN Torreira Xhaka Kolasinac
    Özil Ceballos

    I don’t believe we will see as much of 3 at the back this season. Seems a bit counter productive to strengthen our attacking options with Pepe, Ceballos, Martinelli but then play more of the defensive players we have who we all agree are bang average.

    I’m hoping that this season Emery sees the strength of the team as the attack and just finds a way to patch the defence up and get as many of our match-winners on the field as he can. I can see a lot of 4-2, 4-3, 5-4 score lines this year and I just pray that they end in our favour!

  64. RA says:

    Arsenal have for years been ‘searching’ for an HM in the likes of Vieira, or so the say, and every year that passes we do not get one.

    When Xhaka was bought, I think we all hoped he was ‘the One’ because he was physically OK, he had a reputation for being a ‘hard man’ and he had a thunderbolt shot on him.

    All of that was true — but he just was not what we wanted, and yet, there have been players out there that might have worked.

    Players who were fast, could tackle, who were gymnastically built, had good lung power to track back, and could captain the team by example, could give a player hell if they screwed up or were too lackadaisical.

    And blow me down, the Spuds pop over and buy a potential world class 22 y.o. DM for about £50m squid, from Lyon, called Ndombele who plays in the French national team.

    An apparition? No, he has been known as a great prospect for at least 2 or 3 years — we said bollix – we prefer to keep a struggling Xhaka, and spend £70m on another forward.

    Guilty envy of another team’s new player?
    Yes and no. Until Arsenal can stop slobbering over yet another exciting forward, and start concentrating on the midfield enforcer (DM) or dominant CB we will keep missing out – because our defence could not keep the women’s cricket team from scoring! 😎

  65. Mike M says:

    Iwobi. Pefect example of a youth player that’s been infected by malaise. Watching Nasri, Song,Denilson et al while growing up in the youth ranks. Got one thing to say on him. I don’t think his ability or attitude are good enough consistently. Key word there being consistently. Anyone see him against Burnley? They kicked him up in the air a few times and he played certainly his best game that I’ve seen him play. He was awesome, but also had a purpose – he wanted to show them. So why is just playing for Arsenal not enough?

  66. Aaron says:

    FGG, who is playing defense on the left? No one you named even knows where to line up.

    RA, agreed, but we did purchase Saliba, thank goodness, now another 2 or three of those please- lb, dm or cb. (Tierney and Rugani?? )

    We also have a bunch of hungry youngsters that can play those positions, if they are good enough, we will never know unless they play!

  67. Rasp says:

    I have a sneaking feeling we will sign Tierney and a decent centre back.

    The ‘leavers’ are a puzzle. Surely Elneny would be high on the list and many clubs would be interested you’d think.

    Mustafi’s agent says he wants to stay and fight for his place … delusional!!

    I’d hope that we move on at least 5 players by then end of the TW.

  68. fred1266 says:

    Lol wow totally forgot about ESR

  69. fred1266 says:

    A coach/captain shouldn’t have To tell a keep trying to finish he should be practising this after training until he is decent at it

  70. fatgingergooner says:

    Smith Rowe and co aren’t ready yet. I’d like to see Nketiah, ESR, Nelson and Willock out on loan again this season. Preferably in the PL where possible. I think lower teams would snap Willock and Nelson up and it would be amazing preparation for our first team. It’s great having them at the club, but getting Ceballos and Pepe in, aswell as Martinelli, does make it more difficult for game time and I’d love to see them week in week out to see if they are good enough.

    As for the side, we all hope Tierney gets done and I think it will. I suspect there will be a CB signing but only once Koscielny leaves, which I think I will.


    Elneny £15m
    Jenkinson £5m
    Kolasinac (if Tierney arrives) £20m
    Bielik £10m
    Koscielny £7m

    Plus some loan leavers.

    That’s £57m from junk. Like cleaning out the attic! 😂

  71. fred1266 says:

    Just give mustafi to Monaco already

  72. fred1266 says:

    FGG you really think they not ready, don’t agree with that at all only person who from that list should go on loan is probably ESR in the preseason games the rest look solid and deserve a chance to prove themselves willock has been motm when he played and mad xhaka look like he was the rookie footballer Eddie shows strength at bayern and all he missed a few lately he is actually getting information the right position

  73. Sue says:

    Martinelli starts….
    Jeff plays for Angers, forgot about that!!

  74. fred1266 says:

  75. fatgingergooner says:


    Willock is more attacking than Xhaka so I don’t see him playing in that same position. He is competing with Özil, and the signing of Ceballos tells me Emery wasn’t willing to go into a season with Willock as Özils back up. Nelson did well first half of last season on loan, but the signing of Pepe and Martinelli put him further down the pecking order. Same goes for Nketiah who is barely going to get a kick up front barring injuries.

    Could they do a job in the odd PL game? Sure.

    Is 20 minutes here or there and the majority of their games coming in the U23 going to best for their improvement? I’m not so sure.

    I’d rather see them playing week in week out at Sheffield United than sat on our bench.

    I’m not saying they aren’t good enough or ready to plug gaps, I’m saying that a year of PL football would be invaluable at this stage, and we can’t/won’t offer them that.

  76. Aaron says:

    Seriously, Mustafi in the middle?

    Man, I am about to stop watching this train wreck week after week!

    Put anyone in the center, any ONE other than that guy.

    But, like what I see everywhere else.

    Oh yeah, Martinez is good enough for back up.

  77. allezkev says:

    Arsenal will have two games a week for most of the forthcoming season especially if we go far in the domestic cups, so for me there’s plenty of opportunities for our young players to get minutes on the pitch and if we get injuries and suspensions they’ll also be available to step in there…
    Come January, then Emery can have a rethink about loans, but I’d keep Nketiah, Willock and Nelson close to home initially.
    We still have plenty of players who could be loaned out like Burton, Olayinka, Thompson, John Jules, Medley even – and Smith Rowe.

  78. Aaron says:

    Okay, they adjusted the lineups on the tele.
    4 at the back, so I can watch the game.

    Medley just blazed by Monreal going for the ball.

    Want Guen to release the pass quicker.

    FGG, was just kidding about the lineups.

  79. fred1266 says:

    Arsenal are set to sign Lille forward Nicolas Pepe for €80million (£72.9m), according to Lille president Gerard Lopez.

    Pepe hit 22 Ligue 1 goals last season as Lille finished second in the table behind Paris Saint-Germain.

    PSG coach Thomas Tuchel made his admiration for the Ivory Coast forward clear, with Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Manchester United among the other major clubs linked with Pepe.

    Carlo Ancelotti also confirmed the player was a target for Napoli, but the 24-year-old is instead set to become Arsenal’s record signing.

    “I think it should be done in the next 24 hours,” Lopez told RMC Sport. “It is €80m fixed, plus some other details.

    “In talking with Nico and his agents, things focused on the certain clubs that we wanted to focus on, the two projects that interested the player.”

    Pepe will join an impressive forward line at Arsenal, who also boast Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and former Lyon star Alexandre Lacazette.

    He will become the Gunners’ third signing of the close season after Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos joined on loan and William Saliba chose Unai Emery’s side over rivals Tottenham.

    However, defender Saliba is set to stay on loan in Ligue 1 with Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season.

  80. fred1266 says:

    Martinelli is one greedy players lol

  81. RC78 says:

    How we bet on Mustafi and Medley ahead of Bielik baffles me

  82. Aaron says:


    You mean anyone with Mustafi correct?

    He did as he always does, tried to win the ball up field, getting pulled out of space, beat, and Medley needs to slide over 8 meters in a nano second?

    But, I hear you.

  83. Sue says:

    Fred.. the exodus has begun… Asano – 1m (paid in 3 instalments!) Oh how we’re rolling in the benjamins 🤣 not quite!!
    So has Nelson impressed you??

  84. Aaron says:

    Actually Sue, really impressed with the Jeff.

  85. RC78 says:

    Aaron – lol

    Angers is at best in the last tier of the French Premier League so you d expect us to win comfortably even with our bench players and youth but…

  86. Well that could have been a more exciting 2nd half …… but maybe we didn’t want to embarrass Angers at their own party.

    Fred do you fancy writing something for a post for tomorrow?

  87. fred1266 says:

    Hmm he was ok today much better than Eddie

  88. fred1266 says:

    No problem peaches

  89. RC78 says:

    peaches – am hoping you are right

    Here is an idea for a post?

    What about Dr. Jenko and Mr. Hide?

    Bellerin will be short to start the season. We have not recruited a new RB after Lichtensteiner departure. Besides the Meunier and Alves rumours, there is not much noise about us getting a new RB – sadly. Some of us are keen to see AMN play higher up the pitch given his ability to drive the ball forward but Emery may decide to keep on playing as RB. Which leaves us with the question “What to do with Jenkinson?”. I am of the opinion that he should be sold but he did show good attitude and some skills during the pre-season. It is enough for us to hold on to him or shall we cut our losses and try to sell him?

    If we sell him, would you like a RB to join? If so, whom?

  90. fred1266 says:

    Yea penalty was a waste of time could have give them

  91. RC78 says:

    Mkhy misses his PK but Jeff does the same and Arsenal wins the match 4-3 in PKs.

  92. fred1266 says:

    Sue why doesn’t someone off us 1 m for mustafi xhaka and mkhitaryan

  93. Sue says:

    😂 Fred… you’ll have to be patient!!

    Aaron.. yes I agree about Jeff… i liked the look of Martinelli too!

  94. fred1266 says:

    Martha looked good Eddie not so much

  95. allezkev says:

    Chambers has been getting a lot of minutes on the pitch in pre season, which seems to indicate that Emery sees him as an important player for us during the opening weeks of the forthcoming campaign and at least until Holding is fit again.

  96. RA says:

    That seemed a somewhat reserved answer to questions about Pepe, from Embers.

    He seemed to imply we are ‘following’ Pepe — so maybe there has been a last minute hitch?

    Quick — how much did Palace say they want for Zaha?

  97. Peterson Maish says:

    I’m just laughing when I see the comments. Was offline since last evening. Fred1266, you are as funny as you are on point. I would take 1m pounds for that trio of Mkhitaryan-Xhaka-Mustafi. Actually, add Elneny to form a famous leavers quartet. I don’t care who we replace them with, I just don’t wanna see them on the pitch again. They are the main reason we are in the Europa rather than UCL. Well, Elneny did not play much last season, but that is because he was off key any time he came on as a sub or started a game.
    OK, maybe Martinez is good cover, in any case, ‘keepers rarely get injured.
    Maybe Mike Dean the ref also needs to retire. He hates Arsenal with passion.

  98. Sue says:

    Ooh wow the thought of Mike Dean retiring 🙂 What would make it even better? If he took Jon Moss with him 😜

  99. Morning all

    There’s a New Post …………………….

  100. fred1266 says:

    55 Everton bid but didn’t get him

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