There is a growing feeling amongst supporters that the new ‘Weakest Link’ in the Arsenal team is the seemingly un-droppable Granit Xhaka.
The two opposing views as to whether Unai was culpable for only drawing against spurs are summed up in these comments:
I seem to be in the minority again in that I’m struggling to blame Emery for the result or performance yesterday. It was 2 individual mistakes that led to their goals so is Unai supposed to foresee that? It’s easy to say Xhaka shouldn’t have started after a poor showing but it was only a week ago that people were hoping he’d be in the team for the Liverpool game because of his added experience.
As for tactics, it’s very difficult to protect the back 4 adequately when you’ve gone 1 and then 2 goals behind. We were chasing the game for large parts and that has to be taken into consideration when assessing our defensive frailties. I also thought Son was very clever playing between the lines and he was exploiting the gaps we were leaving.
If anything, Emery did well tactically in the second half as he saw that we were too open and struggling to maintain attacks and so he brought on Ceballos and Mkhitaryan which gave us another body in midfield and resulted in us camping in their half for much of the second period. It was only after we equalised that the players eased off a little and allowed Spurs some late glimpses of goal.
I think the disallowed goal took the wind out of our sails a little and maybe we tired after trying so hard to get level.
I’d be interested to hear what people think Emery should’ve done differently yesterday as the line up looked solid and the formation was probably the correct one, and he made some good calls during the match to help us get level. Given that we don’t have a world class CB or HM player in the squad, I don’t see much else Emery could’ve done with that starting line up.
@FGG. Hope you’re ok with me disagreeing fairly strongly here but if the manager picks someone that the general fanbase keeps saying isn’t good enough and he directly gives a goal away that cost 2 pts. isn’t he responsible?
He’s had a year, has seen enough of Xhaka and I’m not sure about your assertion that many people wanted him to play against Liverpool but I will defer if that’s true.
However Xhaka reverted to type and let his team mates and manager down. It’s noble of you to try to defend him but it’s frankly indefensible. As far as subs go. Ceballos was a no brainer at 2-1 down and Laca was injured.
For me, especially in the fact that he left today, bringing on Miki ahead of Nelson or Willock was bizarre at best. Again, I don’t want to sound obtuse here but I thought it was a ridiculous substitution. He played wide left and with no assists and 1 goal in his last 16 matches (again I stand to be corrected !!) he did exactly as expected – nothing substantive.
I’ll just say this. If you picked an Arsenal team solely on performances this season, Willock has to start, probably along with Guendouzi. If you say Xhaka too, I’d give you that but I think Ceballos or Torreira would have been worth a punt (as if you didn’t know how I felt !!). Sorry if it sounds a little blunt but I’m tired of the excuses for Xhaka of oh well he made a mistake. He almost always makes a mistake, luckily for him, his team mates often bail him out. It’s time to move on from him.
So what do you think? Has Unai inhertited Arsene’s Xhaka blindness? Would we have won if Xhaka hadn’t been on the pitch? Do we know more than experienced professional managers? … Over to you …