As we (hopefully) approach the departure of my bete noir, and as an attempt to explain to some “what I see” of this anachronism, I thought I might be a bit controversial ahead of the Euros.
So… here is my list of pros and cons regarding Mr Xhaka:
I will start with pros (there are some, but IMO, they don’t make up for the cons):
- Xhaka, given enough time, has a reasonable-to-good range of passing skills. He even has a powerful shot (on four occasions, anyway).
2. Xhaka is rarely injured and consequently plays many games in a season.
3. Xhaka has improved slightly his tackling skills in the second half of this season. About time, given how long he has been with us.
4. Xhaka seems to have convinced Mikel Arteta, Jose Moaninho, the recent managers of the Swiss team that he is an essential cog in their teams.
That’s it from me, I’m afraid, unless you wish to include, like Luiz, he seems to be a popular member of the squad.
And now to the Cons:
1. Xhaka is slow of thought and, especially, action. This means if he doesn’t get time on the ball he panics. This results in him either losing the ball or, sometimes worse, to use a phrase from my rugby days, in him “shovelling sh*t”. This means he passes to another player, usually on top of him, resulting in them losing it, and occasionally this season even leading directly to a goal against.
2. Xhaka (although I have to admit he seems to have improved in this area as I said above) always has a last ditch ridiculous tackle in him. This used to happen in the box or as last man in defence with the inevitable consequences.
3. Linked closely with the above, Xhaka doesn’t seem to know that quite apart from the referee and two linesmen/women, there are cameras all over the place watching him. When he makes a stupid tackle, pulls a player back or similar he screams “injustice”, “I didn’t do it guv”, “you must be be joking – I got the ball”! This not only pisses off referees (who get so much wrong) so that when they see something they know is right, they say to themselves, “I’ll remember you for the future.”
4. Again linked, the above behaviour can have a detrimental effect on immature young players. This was particularly evident with Guendouzi, who, in my opinion, often copied Xhaka’s lead in the time he was at the Club.
5. Xhaka likes to use the “professional tricks of the trade”, so despised by me especially. His current one, when trapped with the ball by an opposition press, usually close to the touch line, is to flop down on top of the ball like a grounded dolphin, suggesting he has been brutally assaulted sexually from behind.
6. Despite his lack of injuries, resulting in regular selection, he tires dramatically in the last quarter of the game, and is rarely able to cover back successfully against on-rushing opposition. At this point he is good at pointing to others to do the job, or even balling them out when a poor outcome ensues.
7. Xhaka, doesn’t really have a right foot, so – especially when on the left side of defence – he turns inwards (always) and perpetuates that awful “horseshoe” tactic, I also so despise.
That’s where I’ll leave it AAers. You gather, using my own eyes, rather than Moaninho’s one, that I don’t rate the man much.
Apart from his disrespect of the Club and captaincy on being sent off, I don’t have anything against the man per se, and wish him best of luck at Roma and with Moaninho, GHH.