Xhaka 0, Fan Power 1

So Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the captaincy and there are indications he will be allowed (or encouraged) to leave the club in January.

On the face of it, this is a pretty clear cut example of fan power claiming a scalp.

Some (perhaps many) supporters will celebrate that the Swiss international is now out of the team and probably on his way out of North London. I find the whole episode disturbing and not a little upsetting, as I’ll explain below.

Xhaka has never exactly been loved by the Arsenal faithful, although there have been periods when his play was at least somewhat approved of. But during last season and, particularly, in the current campaign he has been the focus of considerable discontent.

It’s not uncommon for individual players to become lightning rods when their team is going through a rough patch. In recent times at Arsenal, players including Mustafi, Ozil and Ramsey have all fulfilled that role.

But now, with the current season slipping into mediocrity and recrimination, Xhaka has been a lightning road in the eye of a rapidly growing thunderstorm. With hindsight, it’s not surprising he ended up burned.

It was a “victory” for fan power because it has been clear that Unai Emery (like Arsene Wenger before him) saw Granit Xhaka as an important component of his first team and had no desire to lose him in the short term.

This may be, as LB has suggested, because he is seen as the best option among those that are currently available rather than him being thought of as a world class star. But either way, Emery continued to pick Xhaka even as the social media cacophony for him to be axed grew louder and louder. Not only that, the head coach made him captain (after an admittedly bizarre process).

As we all know, everything came to a head when Xhaka was subbed off during the Crystal Palace game. When his number was held up some fans cheered ironically. Xhaka walked off slowly, to a chorus of boos and took off his shirt before heading straight down the tunnel.

This is why I see it as a “win” for fan power: the fans got their way. The persistent barrage of criticism about Xhaka no doubt weighed on Emery’s mind (as well as on the player’s). When things were going badly (again) for his team, Emery attempted to appease his critics by taking off the captain. The subsequent scenes cemented Xhaka’s place in the Arsenal departure lounge.

If there had not been a background of dissatisfaction with how Arsenal were performing under Emery I am sure he would not have substituted his captain. So “fan power” influenced his in-game decision making. Then the booing did the rest.

Frankly I hate this whole episode. My view of Xhaka is that he is a perfectly decent player in an underperforming team who is being asked to carry out a role that does not suit his skills, possibly in a league that does not suit his skills. But regardless of his footballing merits or otherwise I am appalled that our head coach bowed to fan pressure in this way.

If Emery thinks Xhaka should play every game he should stick to his guns and ignore the fans. Let’s face it, for all we like to think we know plenty about football, we know precious little compared to an experienced head coach who was won trophies at the highest level.

Is this how it going to be at Arsenal now? When the fans get on a player’s back the manager throws him to the lions?

And mark my words, there will be another lightning rod player after Xhaka unless the team suddenly starts displaying top-three form and crushing all opponents.

The whole carry-on has left me angry and depressed. No-one comes out of it well – not the fans who cheered when Xhaka’s number came up, or the ones who booed him off, not the player for his reaction, not the club for their handling of things and certainly not the manager for his apparent weakness.

I don’t want my club or its head coach to make decisions based on the latest scapegoating campaign by a noisy minority of supporters and social media blowhards. The Arsenal should be better than that.

It may well be that, as per the headline, the Xhaka situation makes it: “Fan Power 1, Xhaka 0.”

But there’s another scoresheet for this whole business and it goes like this: “Fan Power 1, Arsenal 0.”  And that’s not good.

RockyLives

86 Responses to Xhaka 0, Fan Power 1

  1. LB says:

    The perfect time for this post, I have so much to say but chores call so back later.

  2. Oh Rocky I feel so sad too, it’s like the club is lurching from one crisis to another ………… it feels so unArsenal and I’m not sure who’s in charge anymore. I wish I could wave my big magic wand and press the reset – although I’m not sure where to reset to.

    We have a new coach and nothing is going to be as it was before.

    Players know about social media, it’s a horrible place when things go wrong …….. it can be horrible even if things aren’t too bad. Xhaka and his wife should have just steered clear, I know that’s the training the players receive.

    Emery placed Xhaka in the burning pit by making him captain, it was only a matter of time before his decision came back to haunt him. How can you make a player your captain if he’s not going to stay on the pitch for 90 minutes?

    I do feel sorry for Emery …….. it’s just not going to plan. RC brought up the point that the PSG players took charge and told Emery how they wanted to play but we don’t really have an experienced TEAM so I’m not sure they would even know how to take charge themselves.

    I firmly believe that Xhaka was stripped of the captaincy because of the disrespect he showed on the pitch …….. whatever led to his show of petulance should have been dealt with by the club before it boiled over onto the pitch.

    But as you say Rocky, Arsenal are the losers here 😦

  3. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky, I agree. I’m not proud of the behaviour of some of my fellow fans when it comes to abuse directed at players/staff. I don’t really use twitter, but I’m told the vitriol on there directed at the current ‘fan’s target’ goes beyond reprehensible.

    I’d just like to make an important distinction following on from yesterday’s debate. Many of us use this site because we believe it is a place where that sort of behaviour is not tolerated.

    There has been unanimous agreement on here recently that you do not boo your own players and that the club, the team, the Arsenal should receive nothing but support when they take to the pitch.

    But it is also fair to recognise that sites like this exist in order to be able to discuss and vent concerns in a civilised manner as well as celebrate all the great things we love about the club.

    Anyone who doubts this is our ethos should click on the ‘About AA’ tab at the top of the page.

    For most of us, being an Arsenal supporter comes with emotional baggage. I feel exactly as you (Rocky) do regarding Xhaka’s treatment. And as many have observed in recent games .. it’s no better when Xhaka isn’t on the pitch, so driving him away will not solve underlying problems … and worse still, another scapegoat may soon take his place.

    I’d ask those who are so sure they are right to desist from sarcasm and name calling and treat other bloggers with the respect we should have afforded to Xhaka.

  4. Rasp says:

    Sorry Rocky, I should have focused more on the content of your post.

    I agree fan power should not decide who takes to the pitch or who is manager. We have a management team to decide those things and they possess the facts and the experience to know better than any fan. I’d be very surprised if the management team above Unai does not already have a rapidly reducing number of options on the table. When that list reduces to one or two, they will act.

  5. RC78 says:

    I think Xhaka is being axed because of his behaviour rather than his performance. It has nothing to do with the fans – it is an HR issue I tink. The bridge with the supports will surely be too hard to build back.

    I think he is on his way out and the club will hope to recoup their initial investment. I d love for him to go to Lazio or Inter as part of a deal for Milinko-Savic or Brozovic. I think we will be OK with a midfield 2 or 3 then because both these players have the engine to defend and to drive the ball forward. They are also good at passing and SMS has a good shot as well.

    Xhaka is valued at 40 Mln -> SMS at 65 Mln and Brozovic at 50 Mln.

    @Sue – PSG did awful last night, again…Our players seem jaded. Good news for Arsenal is that Thiago Silva and Cavani may be available on a free at the end of the season

  6. RC78 says:

    I think fans are entitled to manifest their discontent but:
    1. They should not want the team to lose;
    2. The should not retort the any physical or language abuse towards anyone, including staff and players of AFC
    3. The can boo the team at the end of the game. I have no issue with that. I have more of an issue if it happens during the game.

  7. RC78 says:

    On to Leicester game – I can see us play in a 352.

    Leno – Chambers, Sok, Luiz – Bellerin, Douzi, Torreira, Willock, Kola or Tierney – Laca, Auba

  8. RA says:

    A Post that will capture the views of many bloggers, Rocky, and perhaps the disagreement of many more.

    Human nature can be bewildering, and the treatment of some people is a sad reflection on the depths some can resort to.

    Alternatively, humans can also be wonderful to those who are vulnerable and need help.

    Footballers are often seen as wealthy, spoilt multimillionaires who do not need or want the sympathy of ‘the common man’, and there are plenty in the crowd who are happy to go along with that, and dish out their anger big time if a player angers them.

    I agree with the sentiments expressed in your Post, and have nothing to add, as we have all typed myriad viewpoints on Xhaka, the coach and the club.

    Looking at the body language of Emery in last night’s game, which was admittedly made worse by the inclement weather, it seemed to me that he had the beaten look of someone who realises he may no longer be in control of events, and I felt for him because, yes, he has been, in part, responsible for the current problems, but he is not alone in that, and he is as you inferred, caught up in what is becoming a superstorm that could affect all of us who love Arsenal.

    Finally, the vacillating nature of the way the “Xhaka Episode” was handled, by all parties, but particularly by Emery, reminded me of a very good book by James Clavell called Shogun.

    It is set in Japan in 1600 BC and examines the interaction between Samurai’s and the first British sailors to arrive in Japan, at a time when England was trying to establish a commercial relationship with Japan.

    At one stage, the sailors were taken captive, and thrown into a pit as prisoners. They were then made to choose one of their number to be surrendered to a Samurai to be tortured to death in a great pot, that was slowly heated until boiling, so that his spirit, or bravery would be absorbed by the Samurai as he slowly died screaming in the booing water in the cauldron.

    The sailors agreed to draw lots to see who would be boiled to death. After they did so, the one who lost sat stunned until the Japanese soldiers came for him.

    The sailor who should have gone to his death sat motionless, and becoming irritated the Japanese grabbed the nearest guy and started to pull him up the ladder to his doom.

    “No, no, don’t take me,” he screamed, “take him” pointing at the comatose sailor who drew the short straw, “he lost and should be the sacrifice”.

    The Japanese, who spoke no English, simply took him off to the cauldron to die, to the relief of the chosen sailor.

    The thought came to me, that Emery who has become aware of the increasing pressure he is under, may have had a similar thought to the James Clavell character, and was guiltily happy that Xhaka was selected by the fans, instead of him.

    In the book, the fate of the other sailors did not end with the death of the first one. And I suspect the Arsenal drama is still ongoing, and the fate of Emery and, maybe others, has not yet been decided either.

  9. RA says:

    Umm — ‘booing’ above was an unintentional typo, and should have read ‘boiling’ of course.

    What an apt mistake, given a lot of what has transpired was initially caused by bad tempered booing!!

  10. RA says:

    After the pretty poor performance last night against Vitoria, the sports pages are once again leaning heavily towards the possible appointment of Jose Mourhino as our next manager, if Arsenal lose away (again) at Leicester.

    Who would be surprised if we did in fact lose against a resurgent Foxes team, with Vardy finding his goal scoring touch again?! There is a lot more riding on that result than the usual fan disappointment.

    That would not be the end of the world, but it could be the end of Emery, and it could also signal the end of my direct interest in Arsenal, for however long Moanhio remained as the manager, if the rumours prove to be true.

    I really cannot stand the man, his ethos, his preferred style of playing and ……. Well everything about him.

    Ah – I can here some saying, his playing style may be boring, but his teams win, and we would be back in contention for winning a top competition, again.
    Really??!

    That may have been true in the past, but Moanhio is now a bust flush in my opinion. He brings disruption, discontent and unpleasantness wherever he goes, and this has always led to his tenure in office being cut short, [3 years max – on average] when his current club realise he is not what they had hoped for.

    He always wants a great wodge of cash to spend on players, and that could be a godsend because the current owners are unlikely to agree to that. But even saying, for the sake of argument, that Kroenke agreed to that, the disruption and wholesale changes in the Arsenal administration management could set us back for years, and end in tears, so we would be back at square one.

    If events lead to the dismissal of Emery, I hope we settle for a new, young manager, preferably someone with Arsenal DNA, and to hell with the divisive diva known as Moanhio, for good reason.

  11. Sue says:

    Nice one, Rocky. Well said.

    RC.. 1-0 and a win’s a win! Ooh Cavani is welcome to come to NL 😉
    Just wondering what the Vardy celebration will be on Saturday, if he scores, which imo is highly likely! That dodgy eagle on Sunday, did make me laugh!!

  12. LB says:

    I can’t help but think that the end justified the means.

    Nobody was happy with Xhaka and that in my opinion includes Emery.

    So it seems to me that we all get a win, win, win.

    It is a racing certainty that Xkaha’s agent will try and get him a job in Italy or some such place where Xhaka can play his stye of football, his family can be near a warm beach and they can all eat good food al fresco — win for Xhaka.

    Emery gets to sign a player who he believes will help him improve the balance of the current first team — win for Emery

    We the fans get a shiny new toy to play with — win for the fans.

    It is not pretty what is happening right now at the club but sometimes, we the fans, have to push and shove a bit if we want to change what so obviously needs to be changed.

  13. LB says:

    RC

    Agree about Emery will try a back three on Saturday. The biggest clue, apart from the fact that he seemed to be trial running it against Vitoria, was the exclusion of both Chambers and Bellerin.

    The only difference I have with your team is that I think Ozil will start.

    ————————-Leno

    ———Chambers, Socratis, Luiz

    Bellerin, Guendouzi, Torreira, Kolasinac

    ————————-Ozil

    ————-Lacazette——-Aubamayang

    Some may say that is smacks of desperation, I don’t at all, the clock is broken, Emery should continue to do whatever he can to fix it.

  14. LB says:

    I would be happier with Tierney playing but after 90 minutes against Vitoria…………hmmm, there must be a reason for that.

  15. RA says:

    LB @ 12:07

    Sounds about right! The food, the sun. a beach — I might join Xhaka myself. 😁

  16. Jeremy O'Dwyer says:

    Makes me sad too.

    Arsenal fans, both those who went after him online and those that jeered him in the stadium, essentially harassed a guy until he snapped and fought back, at which point they acted offended and played the victim. It’s the kind of behavior used by trolls everywhere and it’s disingenuous and gross.

  17. LB says:

    Top comment Jeremy, hope you come back.

  18. RockyLives says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Jeremy – you captured my sentiments perfectly and managed it much more succinctly than I did!

    One point to be clear about… I am not against fans expressing their displeasure for a player (or a performance) but I am against it when it turns into a campaign of harassment as Jeremy says.

    Redders – I love the Shogun comparison (great book, probably time to re-read it). Just one little quibble… you have the British mariners pitching up in Japan in 1600 BC. Quite an achievement to get from the murky waters of the English Channel all the way across two oceans in dugout canoes! Or perhaps you meant 1600 AD… 😀

    LB – “ends and means” – it would be nice if everyone ends up happy although I’m not totally convinced.

    RC & Sue – Never been that impressed with Cavani. But then I know very little about footy (I even bet on a 3-0 Arsenal win last night).

  19. RC78 says:

    Am not a fan of Mou and his antics/personality. If he were to be appointed, I think that he may bring two positive sides to our team
    1. Hatred for defeat and love for improvement
    2. Defensive cohesiveness

    Maybe a coach like him is a necessary evil in the ST (not longer than 2 years) to add a new edge to our DNA

  20. RC78 says:

    Rocky – Cavani is a better version than Giroud. He s getting a bit old but the guy is a fighter, a team player and can score goals for fun. I am very annoyed at how he is being treated at Psg. He is our all time scorer and also he is the perfect employee, loves the fans, works hard, doesn’t complain… Even if he only starts in cup games or European games, the guy would add so much to our squad. Fantastic work ethics

  21. LB says:

    I loved Shogun, I have read it twice and insisted that my two sons read it which they did kicking and screaming until they couldn’t put it down.

    It was Peterson who drew the short straw but I cannot remember the Japanese guard grabbing the nearest prisoner, time to read it again I think.

  22. RockyLives says:

    Redders
    I agree with everything you say about Maureen.

    But if we ended up getting him (highly, highly unlikely in my view) I would still support Arsenal with the same level of interest and engagement.

    Good managers and bad ones come and go, but the club endures.

  23. RockyLives says:

    I’m loving the AA book club!

  24. Mike M says:

    Hey Rocky. I’m not trying to butt heads here but I do want to give a different perspective because I think we as fans are getting the raw end of this. In your post (which is excellent btw) you say Xhaka:
    “My view of Xhaka is that he is a perfectly decent player in an under performing team who is being asked to carry out a role that does not suit his skills, possibly in a league that does not suit his skills.”
    So as fans, are we supposed to accept that? At what point do we have the right to criticise? Unlike many of the current under performing squad, Xhaka has been with us for 4 years. Not as a fullback or fancy play maker but as a central midfielder and (as i’ve said a million times) the fulcrum of the team. So his performances are under much more scrutiny. Who’s to blame? I’m really not sure but I can tell you this, it’s NOT the fans.
    What I find most frustrating is:
    “As we all know, everything came to a head when Xhaka was subbed off during the Crystal Palace game. When his number was held up some fans cheered ironically. Xhaka walked off slowly, to a chorus of boos and took off his shirt before heading straight down the tunnel.”
    Sorry Rocky but how can you know what the fans were thinking when his number came up? If what you say about his performances is true, sure fans will express their feelings in a way that they’re happy a change is being made and a player who isn’t performing is being taken off. Therein lies the problem for me. Xhaka is completely unaware of his failings and he grades his paper way too high. So his reaction was to say “Look here morons, I’m doing a great job and you don’t have the right to be critical” – so he acted out. And I think in assuming the fans are booing and just jeering him, you’re validating that. I Know some were, but as I said, sometimes fans get frustrated too. It doesn’t means they’re bad fans and the booing only started after his gesticulations.
    Again, I’m not trying to pick a fight here but Xhaka got what he earned – no respect.

  25. RC78 says:

    Sad to see that Arsenal’s squad has not many international players in major nations anymore…and when they are, they don’t necessarily start…

  26. RockyLives says:

    Hi Mike

    No worries – I welcome robust debate. The nice thing on AA is that it is always respectful.

    I was not aiming my ire so much at the fans who booed him on the day, but at the relentless campaign of negativity directed towards him over many months.

    And even then I wouldn’t say that his critics should silence themselves. I just find the whole thing a bit distasteful.

    As for reading supporters’ minds – I wasn’t at the Palace game so I was basing my interpretation of events on what I read on this blog from people who were there.

    At the risk of putting myself in a pretty small minority, I think Xhaka is a better player than he is given credit for and if our team were functioning better and set up better he could be a valued contributor.

    Anyway, it looks like he’ll be out of the team for a while so we’ll get to see if his replacements produce a sudden uptick in team performances… I’m not holding my breath.

  27. RockyLives says:

    RC
    We do have a fair few regular internationals, including Sokratis, Tierney, Ceballos, Torreira, Auba, Pepe…
    Plus others like Holding and Bellerin who might well have a lot more caps but for injuries.

  28. RockyLives says:

    And Xhaka of course!

  29. Aaron says:

    Piggybacking on yesterday’s review: another site has a pass map, and the Arsenal made “over 520 passes during the game and 1 successful pass in Vitoria’s 18 yard box.”

    1 damn pass, not the 6 yard box, how is that possible?

    Fans abusing players, each other, support people, is a slippery slope. As mentioned above, many are trolls, and just looking to get a rise out of people, insecurity and all that.
    But, the line in the sand are threats and physical contact.
    I do not attend Arsenal games, as am in the US, but we have had people die at baseball games, a few people are just sociopaths and lunatics. No team is worth being maimed or dying for!

    Xhaka has no way out, except out.

    Will watch the Leicester game and if the Arsenal capitulate again, I will now more interested in watching to see if the board has the courage to let the hammer fall. If that scenario happens, another funeral like game, then I will not be watching anymore games this season, got better things to do, and have seen this merry-go-round a few times before during the last 17 months.

    Will be watching Bayern with Arsene. Imagine him being appointed, winning league and CL.lol

  30. Mike M says:

    @Rocky and Aaron – So i think my main point is that the abusive fans are a very small minority and their behaviour is absolutely unacceptable as you point out. However “fan driven” analysis of players is and always has been part of being a professional in the limelight and earning a boatload of money for it. There are a couple of interesting takes from Burley and Nichol about when they were playing badly and how they dealt with it. I think my frustration with Xhaka is his lack of acknowledgement that he’s not playing well (or in my opinion, not a good enough player). If you’re right Rocky and he is a good player, he should have accepted the criticism, got off the field and worked at playing better next time out.
    The online abuse is a totally different matter for me.

  31. RA says:

    Spot on, Rocky, @1:27 — a faut pas extraordinaire!!

    I was probably thinking 16:00 before coffee, like you do. 😏 and which I have now had!!

  32. LBG says:

    Mike M
    Tried to keep out of recent Xhaka discussions as have been unappreciative of his ability, arrogance and self deception from the moment he arrived!! But think “Xhaka is completely unaware of his failings, and grades his paper way too high” sums up my ex- teacher assessment of him perfectly. Online abuse totally unacceptable ( dont have an account, or view it, lads, simple), but reserve the right as a season ticket holder who attends all home games, to assess him as never good enough for The Arsenal.

  33. RA says:

    Mike,

    Rocky Coastline is a v. good friend of mine, but I am not biased in observing a good debate – or cock fight – and I love to see a feisty debate but there has to be some ground rules surely?
    Otherwise I might as well go and listen to the nonsense spewed from all the politicians. 😏

    Mike you came on, at the time, and said you had not seen the game, but that is not the impression you are now giving.

    RL had previously said: ‘I am not against fans expressing their displeasure (criticism of) a player (or a performance)’

    You later asked RL : “So as fans, are we supposed to accept that? At what point do we have the right to criticise?

    In summing up later, you said: ‘Sorry Rocky but how can you know what the fans were thinking?

    Fair point – but you rather spoilt it shortly after by saying;

    ‘So his (Xhaka’s) reaction was to say “Look here morons, I’m doing a great job and you don’t have the right to be critical”.

    Umm, isn’t that questioning The Rock’s mind-reading abilities, and then doing exactly a more robust bit of Xhaka mind-reading yourself?

    Anyhoo, I might have to say, that as neither of you actually saw the game – except maybe the highlights – I would have to ring the bell and call time. 🥺

  34. Mike M says:

    @RA – The Palace game? I saw every excruciating minute of it unfortunately on TV – being in Houston and all. I have missed a couple of televised games this season but not many so if I gave that impression, I apologise. I do remember saying I’d stand corrected if anyone at the game could say for sure Xhaka was being jeered rather that excitement for a change in the way of Saka coming on.
    Fair point on the mind reading. I was just gauging Xhaka’s reaction but I guess Rocky was doing the same thing with the fans. My bigger point was that it seems “we” are all bad fans because Xhaka was booed and abused online. I’m trying to point out that in both cases, the vast majority of fans did not engage in that behavior. But I still see a need to defend those of us who call him out for his poor play and lack of leadership and desire. I think Rocky and a I also see that differently too !!! The essence of discussion right !!

  35. RA says:

    Fair enough, Mike,

    Misunderstandings can happen in blogging, and the old adage that goes : ‘I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant’ – so true, so very true.

    I cannot believe there is anything more to say about Xhaka that has not already been said – many times over. 😛

    Rocky will probably tell me to take a hike, as he does not need a pleb like me to speak for him. And I really wasn’t, actually.

    I got more fun reading your comments than I should, and comparing them with what you both had said was just …… fun.

    I should apologise for mischief making .. but you both would know I was not being genuine .. so I won’t!! 🧐

  36. Martin Wengrow says:

    You haven’t considers Xhaka’s viewpoint.
    Perhaps he is not keen to represent Arsenal at the moment.
    None of us are in a position to make a judgement on this episode without knowing all of the facts.

  37. Mike M says:

    @Martin W – fair point. I think if he feels that way and continues to do so, problem solved !!!! Welcome btw !!!!
    @RA – blogging should be fun – have at it !!!!!!!

  38. John Mathews legend says:

    Evening all.
    On the subject of Xhaka:
    I made an attempt last week at expressing that booing or jeering players has been going on at least since my early memories of Highbury in the 70s,(and I would think beforehand) and by using my (Legendary) namesake as ‘poetic licence’ (So much for the creative writing wot we learned at OLTSH Eden Grove, ‘Olloway, eh?)
    It’s always been there. Times have changed of course…internet, social media etc.But has the matchday experience changed that much for those in the stadium? One thing that has changed is that fans (or fake fans, nutters etc) have the means to voice/spit their opinions within minutes of something they don’t like, and beam it to thousands (millions) of faceless ‘contacts’
    Living in France, I only get to one, maybe two matches per season, through my Bro (ST holder)*
    A few years back I was at a match with Gervinho playing. FF’sake,
    Granit never got anything like what he got from the fans in the stadium!
    Poor s*d, actually a pretty good player. Had his confidence shot to Jayzuz by the crowd, + abuse on his looks. Hounded out of the club in the end.,but I don’t recall him being disrespectful.
    My gripe with Xhaka….besides the fact that no captain of any team should insult the fans (so, the club in effect) the way he did, is that he never really ‘apologised’
    Mixing up the abuse he got from f*ckin’ pshycos on social media with the few jeers, and eventual booing that he got (somewhat deservedly, given the context) on the field is simply making excuses,
    rather than excusing himself for what he should feel guilty of.
    I don’t do Twitter or Instagram etc, but surely these ‘stars’ that do, do it to promote their own image, careers, marketing value.
    They must be extremely thick, or have their heads extremely up their own @rses to not accept that there will always be a small percentage of total headjobs out there to abuse them, hiding behind their anonymous safety.(Maybe Middlesex feckn swamp dwellers to boot.)
    That said, I do actually feel something for the guy, just….not that much really.
    * Will be in London for the Christmas period, and will hopefully get a ticket to one of the matches through my Bro. If I do, will gladly meet up with any AAers. I promise to sport a big moustache so that any of you that remember the 70s will recognise me…
    The real JMLegend

  39. RockyLives says:

    Hello Martin
    Nice to see you back on here.

    You make a fair point. But the trouble is we will likely never know all the facts about matters like these, so the best we can do is speculate.

    My guess would be that, prior to the recent shenanigans, Xhaka would have wanted to play for Arsenal and for Arsenal to be successful. Now? Well, it’s harder to know what his mindset will be now…

  40. Rasp says:

    😂 typically forthright view JML …. as usual, I imagine the truth lies somewhere between the two sides of the debate.

    I’d be delighted to buy you a beer before a game if you make it over in December.

  41. John Mathews legend says:

    Beer…did somebody say ‘beer’ will be there!
    Hi Rasp, I agree, the truth is somewhere in the middle.
    Hard to know what to really think at the moment, but something in the Xhaka story, among quite a few other things, seems to be synomious, synomynous, er synonimous with the namby-pambinization of the current Arsenal team.

  42. RockyLives says:

    Hello Legend

    That’s an astute comment. As befits a, er, legend…

  43. John Mathews legend says:

    Rocky, the astutest comment I made was something about beer….

  44. RockyLives says:

    That’s the one I was referring to 😀

  45. John Mathews legend says:

    Glad to hear it Rocky. I’ll be on for a beer even if I don’t get a ticket!

  46. Rasp says:

    Mind you … the version of beer they sell in The Emirates leaves a lot to be desired I’m afraid … much better to imbibe at one of the many Arsenal friendly hostelries around the ground (goodness my language is getting Shakespearean … must be Redders’ influence)

  47. RockyLives says:

    Forsooth Rasp, which hostelry does the AA crew frequent pre-match these days.

    Last time I saw the gang – many years ago when the world was young and so were we – was in the Arsenal Tavern I believe.

  48. Rasp says:

    In the Highbury days it would have been The Tavern Rocky (Geoff of Le Grove would be a couple of doors down at the Small and Beautiful) … in the Emirates era, the Faltering Fullback is frequented by the Vines clan and has particular appeal (especially to peaches) due to the extravagant planting in the outside seating area

  49. RockyLives says:

    The FF used to be the regular pre-match pub for my mob before I went to Canada.

    I too hope to get to London for a game soon and it would be nice to see you all again.

  50. John Mathews legend says:

    The usual gaff for me to pick up my ticket is the Coronet* on the ‘Olloway road. Dodgy beer on a matchday, cheap as chips.
    Lager drinkers often do the 2 bottles of Beck’s to make a pint stint.
    Ales are normally ok.
    I’ll never be much of a one for footie tactics analysis, but can do beer tactics….
    * Used to be the ABC cinema when I was a nipper.

  51. RockyLives says:

    Evening games it’s sometimes the Che Guevara place.

    Post match: Bank of Friendship

  52. John Mathews legend says:

    The Tollie used to be a seedy local pub where we’d have th odd beer when I played in my first band (we rehearsed in the underground ‘glue sniffing’ rooms at Harvest estate across the road back around ’78/’79.) Since the move to the Emirates, you can’t get in the place on matchdays.

  53. Rasp says:

    Excellent Rocky … maybe we can arrange a mass turn out … and a pub crawl! I believe LB favours The Twelve Pins

  54. Rasp says:

    The Tolly has become a bit exclusive … you have to squeeze past bouncers to get in …

  55. RockyLives says:

    If we’re feeling adventurous there’s even the White Lion of Mortimer

  56. Rasp says:

    I’m making this sound like I’m an expert … truth is, 2 pints and I’m trolleyed 🤪

  57. RockyLives says:

    Me too Rasp. I get a bit tipsy just looking at the Vines boys’ train beverages…

  58. John Mathews legend says:

    ‘ckin’ell….the Nambi-pambinization of Arsenal goes beyond the team!

  59. Rasp says:

    😂 guilty JML … I’m a lightweight when it comes to beer tolerance … the Vines’ boys make up for me though

  60. fatgingergooner says:

    Fan power has become a real issue for clubs. They need to get fans on board and attending games, so they help generate an expectation by announcing big signings and getting managers to talk about European Qualification and Silverware in a way that hypes up the fans, but this creates a problem when things don’t go quite to plan. Fans suddenly treat their season tickets as a transaction and feel they have been mis-sold and voice their anger in a way that would befit an irritated customer. They bash the product online, voice their anger at the stadium, and worst of all…send letters to those in charge DEMANDING change. For me, the ‘entitled fan’ is not a good look or a positive thing, and for some reason it seems to be rife at our club, and in my view is part of the reason this whole Xhaka thing has come about. I don’t know if the huge success under Wenger created this new breed of fan, or wether it’s always been there and the internet and media backing has just made it easier for them to voice their displeasure, or if like many things it’s just spilling over from society in general, but one thing is for certain…they are not going away. I have no problem with fans being unhappy at performances or even at booing at the final whistle as it shows they care and it’s a valid way for them to voice their frustration, but when they forget their role in all of this and start making demands and abusing players then they are over stepping. The club have handled this poorly and are letting these fans dictate the way Arsenal is run. It’s such a sign of weakness when they needed to show strength.

  61. John Mathews legend says:

    So, if the ‘pub crawl’ is from the Costa Coffee across the ‘Olloway road from the tube station up to the one next to Morrissons…..you can nip in to the Coronet on the way up and buy me a pint!

  62. RC78 says:

    I am watching the Man Utd game and I am very annoyed because they are actually playing entertaining football. Based on their evolution so far this year and ours, I can see them move in the top 6 very quickly. They just need to sort out their defensive shape once they lose the ball but other than that, I think that comes January, they will be firing all cylinders.

  63. Sue says:

    Rasp, Rocky, JML… does AA really stand for Arsenal Arsenal?!! Hic 😂

  64. John Mathews legend says:

    Sue, nah….stands for ‘Airy Arse!

  65. fatgingergooner says:

    Adam Johnson has more assists in the last 6 years than Jesse Lingard…..He’s been in prison for 3 of them.

    Bournemouth GK Ramsdale has more assists this season than Jesse Lingard….and Ben Foster has had more shots on target.

  66. RC78 says:

    @Fatgingergooner- lol

    What about the Martial-Rashford partnership? Can they rival Auba-Laca?

  67. Sue says:

    🤣🤣 JML…

  68. John Mathews legend says:

    Sue, I’ve finally figured out how to do those smiley things 🤣
    I copy and paste your’s! 🤣🤣🤣 Please post a few more so that I can express different feelings……..🤣

  69. Sue says:

    Nice one, jml 😂 Another comedian on here 👍

  70. John Mathews legend says:

    Thanks Sue. I’ll use the thumbs up one for FGG.
    FGG, great stats 👍

  71. Sue says:

    RC.. So the Mancs have qualified for the knockout stages.. If Frankfurt had won tonight, we would have qualified too…. but of course, knowing our luck, they didn’t 🤪

  72. John Mathews legend says:

    If we don’t qualify then 🤪🤪 (whatever that means….😂)

  73. Sue says:

    I’m going to run out of emoji’s at this rate!! 😝

  74. John Mathews legend says:

    Sorry Sue. I know how to do Emojis on text msges, Whatsapp and FB, but really have no idea how to on a blog comment. If I had a ‘being serious’ emoji I would stick it here….😝(innapropriate)

  75. Sue says:

    Well, all I can say jml is… thank god there’s no ‘Airy Arse emoji 😄

  76. John Mathews legend says:

    hee hee hee…will try to find one! Ni-nite.

  77. RC78 says:

    No Bayern for Wenger – sad

    I think Emery is playing his future vs Leicester. If we are ridiculized there, he ll be out. If we get smt or lose bc of an incident (VAR, ref..), he ll stay…

  78. VP of Oz says:

    Ok I’ll get in early as I am going out tonight to watch Ali Barter with my daughter.

    Fester 0 : 3 Arsenal

    Leno
    Mustafi
    Luiz Xhaka
    Pepe Ozil Willock Saka
    PEA Martinelli Lacazette

    Xhaka scores the 1st goal and runs over to the fans to celebrate and tells them all to F off, rips his shirt off and throws it into a young fans face and storms off.
    Substitution, Xhaka for Cebellos

    Ozil scores the 2nd goal and runs over to Emery and hugs him.
    Substitution Ozil for Smith Rowe

    Mustafi scores the 3rd goal and the fans start to chant
    One Shkod Mustafi,
    There’s only one Shkod Mustafi,
    There’s ony one Shkod Mustafi…
    Substitution Pepe for Papas, its time to close shop and keep a clean sheet

    thank you legend for letting us know how to simply copy paste other emojis 👍
    😂
    😂
    Have a great weekend everyone
    Maybe next year I might come over to watch a few games with my son. He can join you for a drink as I am a teetotaler due to my catholicism upbringing

  79. Sue says:

    Ceballos is ruled out

  80. RockyLives says:

    VP

    That’s genius 😀

    I have a Catholic upbringing and drink like a fish.

  81. RockyLives says:

    Peaches/Rasp

    I’ve dropped a little Post in drafts to keep things ticking over for today…

  82. Sue says:

    VP.. 🤣 Now that would be worth watching!!!

  83. Morning all

    Thanks Rocky ……

  84. We have a New Post ……………

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