Xhaka: Quality?  Or the Most Overrated Player of Recent Years (and That Says Something!)?

Granit Xhaka: Saint…
…or Sinner?

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):

  1. 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.



36 Responses to Xhaka: Quality?  Or the Most Overrated Player of Recent Years (and That Says Something!)?

  1. RockyLives says:

    Nice Post LBG

    At times Xhaka has driven me to distraction, but overall I am not as down on him as most of the regulars here on AA.

    You point out that Xhaka seems to have convinced Arteta, Maureen and the Swiss national coaches of his ability: you could add Unai Emery and Arsene Wenger to that list, since both used him as one of the first names on the team sheet.

    This last half season has probably been the best he has ever had with us… and yet…

    Do I think we could do better? Most definitely.

    As I mentioned in a reply to Dexter on yesterday’s post, if we can get a really good DM who can do what Kante does for the Chavs, then we might find that Partey is freed up to be the player we hope can he be.

  2. Dexter says:

    Good morning!!

    Oh where to begin??? 🤣🤣🤣

    Unlike Gilberto who was unbelievably under rated and sorely missed (still ffs!!) XHAKA us a player who I hoped would be a quality signing for us, but for me, seemed to represent the latter stages of Wengers reign and seemed a bit of a vanity project too!

    What does he bring to the team? Certainly no where near enough to warrant the money we paid for him.

    Hes not a classic DM or a hybrid DM box to box midfielder. He is sooooo effin slow and his decision making is dodgy, like his tackling. He doesn’t create (much) or score goals.

    Hes a luxury we cant afford.

    It’s not his fault, for some reason successive managers have pissed about ‘ecperimenting’ with the centre of midfield to the extent that we have 1500 midfielders and no obvious candidates to play there!

    We signed Partey for a shit load of money and what’s HIS best position??? Same with Ceballos (adios mate). They’re all so annoyingly samey!!

    Sell Xhaka and and hopefully sign a decent DM pkease!!

  3. Brad says:

    Can’t stand Xhaka.
    Terrible player.

  4. RC78 says:

    Xhaka has been a mystery…
    A) Why did all managers make him a first-team member?

    B) How come he had two good phases of play with us: one under Wenger when he played further up the pitch and one with Arteta as of January basically?

    C) Why doesn’t he shoot more often?

    D) How can he in one game be very solid for 88 minutes and so rash for 4 minutes? It beats me…

    I was quite confident that he could have been a good signing for us but he turned out to be an average one at best.

    If we could sell him for 25 Mln EUR, I d sell him. Otherwise, I am happy to keep him as a squad player. As you said, he does not get injured much. He can be a good utility player and the team and management like him so why not? But I am happy only to keep him as a squad player, not a starting player.

    If we sell Xhaka, we are left with Partey and El Neny, which works decently as a combo but we would need 2 more midfielders, one DM and one CM or one that can do both effortlessly and carry the ball forward too…I like Rice, Ward-Prowse and some people rate Bissouma as DM – then there is also Tchouemini from Monaco who is showing great premises…I d be happy with a CM that could also break lines and drive and pass the ball forward – Zielinkski, Valverde, Pjanic (?)…There are some options out there

    In any case, Auf Wiedersehen Xhaka und vielen Danke!

  5. LBG says:

    If we can get rid of Willian, we can offer Xhaka as a bogoff!😁
    Keep telling you Bissouma and Buendia.

  6. LBG says:

    One season of buying restricted mainly to those proven in the Premier League, please.
    Rice is a pipe dream unless you personally can offer a spare £50m to make up the difference. Just saying, not disagreeing.😉

  7. VP says:

    I’d be happy to have Xhaka play in my Futsal team.
    Also he is the only Arsenal player in history to have a surname starting with the letter X.
    nuff said

  8. Pete the Thirst says:

    I’d be extremely happy to see him leave.

    The stories suggest we’d take £20m, which makes me wonder why we paid £35m for him. (& £35m on Mustafi!)

  9. LBG says:

    He’s proud that the one eyed Moaninho regards him so highly.

  10. RC78 says:

    I m convinced by Buendia but Bissouma, I do not know enough…

    What do you make of W-Prowse? He is also a bit on the slow side, but I think he is quite good, no? Rice is better for sure

  11. LBG says:

    Sorry RC
    Ward-Prowse takes a mean set piece, good engine, but otherwise does he stand out in an average Southampton team.
    Certainly think Saka and Smith-Rowe better
    Willock, perhaps as good. Rice, different player altogether.

  12. LBG says:

    Worried about Bissouma now, as Lineker and Carragher raving about him now!!!Not really, I think he is the ideal player to bring the best out in Partey.

  13. LBG says:

    Check out Bissouma against Everton and Manure this season and check his stats.

  14. Maxwell says:

    Hi Rocky. I sent something to the nuts email, but I don’t know if you received it. As to Granit, he makes me dizzy, as I vacillate between rating him and hating him, depending which Xhaka turns up that day.

  15. fred1266 says:

    Xhaka at his best

  16. RA says:

    Good Post, LBG

    To be candid there has been a lot said about Xhaka, including by myself, so no point in repeating myself, other than to say, like Maxwell, I can and do change my mind about him when he plays well, partly because when we bought him I thought we had a good acquisition – but I was soon disillusioned that he was not the player I expected.

    Those who do not rate him are unlikely to change their minds — those who do rate him are unlikely to change their minds either.

    Anyhoo, my money would be on getting Sander Berge, as a replacement. He is tall, strong and young enough at 23 y.o. to listen to the coach.

    But there are a number of Premier League clubs linked to him, as well as at least a couple of European Clubs — so if we are interested, the money (£35m) may be too much.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    44 games on average per season. Highest number of passes per game for Arsenal with 90% pass completion. Almost everything goes through GX and he is every Arsenal manager’s first player on the team sheet. Those who are qualified managers love him, but it is a free country and your post underlines why it is great we don’t have the rule of the mob.

    Thanks for clarifying your thoughts on Xhaka.

  18. sean vassallo says:

    The amount of stupid replies I’ve seen in this chat…..no wonder Xhaka gave you the middle finger.Newsflash keyboard analysts Xhaka ain’t a DM and never was signed to be one.You all harping about Kante but against us he’s never done anything..why?Cause he cant keep up with the passing and movement game,get’s lost easily like he did when we destroyed Conte’s Chelsea 3-0 but the usual banter arsenal fans get a DM and we will win everything..honestly don’t know why none of you go and manage a club.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    To your points: Xhaka is one of the few players who look around before anticipatingthe ball. He always maximises on choosing the best option available. He is the opposite of slow of thought.

    His discipline has improved significantly. No point in talking about the past. XhakA wins important fouls for us, his style is a personal thing. His tackles have also improved a lot.

    His perceived lack of speed is seldom or never an issue in Arteta’s team. Granit reads the game well and Arteta has set up the team to play to his tremendous strengths.

  20. Dexter says:


    You ok hun?

  21. Dexter says:

    Xhaka NOT being like Kante, or a DM is kinda the whole point.

    Because IF he was a DM who broke up play, made interceptions, tackles well and dropped into the back 4, then his value would be obvious to even the densest Gooner!

    And likewise if he scored and created loads we could see the evidence again.

    It’s the fact hes a fucking enigma! The Mona Lisa of midfielders!! 🤣🤣🤣

  22. LBG says:

    Talking of stupid replies……
    Who talked of having a Kante on this site? The player by the way with the right back who won the Champions League for Chelski recently.

    Pleased you were obviously happy with the chance to exercise a considered response to my post.

  23. LBG says:

    Proof positive that we all see what we want to, and that variety of opinion is the spice of life.

  24. LBG says:

    Thanks for all the comments. Guess Xhaka is the classic Marmite player. And, as Rocky says he has managed to convince many managers of his quality, so it must be all the crap around him that is the reason for our sorry decline in the last eight to ten years.

  25. allezkev says:

    As far as the title is concerned, I’d say the most overrated ‘Arsenal’ player in recent years is now plying his trade in Istanbul.

  26. LBG says:

    Massively impressed with Meslier, Leeds goalkeeper and for France U21s, if we cant keep Ryan. But probably wouldnt come to us as second to Leno perhaps.

  27. LBG says:

    Sorry Allezkev, thought I’d had enough, but no!
    Mesut has done it all in his career, won practically everything, and to even put him in the same breath as a third rate Swiss excuse for quality is sacrilege.
    Ask Ronaldo who was his favourite creator of all time at Real Madrid! Check Mesut’s stats for miles run even two seasons before he left, let alone assists (largely missed) or goals created. Check out the goals he scored.
    X is not worthy of tying his boot laces. Like comparing Thierry Henry with Francis Jeffers!

  28. Pete the Thirst says:

    The plague-ridden Ozil ship sailed long ago, never to return to these shores.

    For a long time we were trying to sign a prolific striker. First it was Higuain; then Suarez; finally Wenger decided to spend over £40 million on a creative midfielder that we didn’t need. One that Madrid were desperate to get rid of.

    Considering the cost, the lack of impact and the toxic fallout it must be the worst signing ever made by (Wenger) the Club.

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    It is true, LBG, that we see what we want to see, but there is something called reason to help overcome this. Granit wears the shirt for 44 games every season and the managers believe in him: should that not be enough reason to support him and refrain from calling naive stuff like ‘third rate Swiss excuse for quality’? I may be blinded by a sense of loyalty and desire to support any hard-working players wearing the shirt, but then again I guess that what’s in the definition of ‘supporter’. Just support him because he is a Gunner, picked by the manager.

  30. VP says:

    I’d be happy to have 1Ö-zil play in my Futsal team as well.

  31. fred1266 says:

    Nope nope we have to keep Leno and suffer for letting emi go

  32. fred1266 says:

    Surely squillaci and Sylvester takes those spots

  33. LBG says:

    You are certainly persistent.
    I used every ounce of reason to explain my abhorrence of X. Sorry , not really, that you dont agree. And I dont need lectures on what a supporter is, thank you.

  34. jjgsol says:

    I must agree with Sean and Total.

    To start having a go now at Ozil is adequate evidence of the paucity of quality in the posters on this site.

    With all these know-alls and armchair specialists with their views about this or that player, it makes this site almost unreadable, which is why I come here so frequently and will do so even less in the future.

    Good luck to everyone here. I hope you enjoy your misery.

    I have supported this club for nearly 60 years and have seen plenty of rubbish, but never as much as I see now whenever I can be bothered to watch.

    This manager beats Billy Wright in consistently producing awful displays.

    Right, I have had my last word on this site and won’t bother anymore.

    Good luck to you all and keep well and safe.

  35. RC78 says:

    Jigsol – I am sure we will read from you soon 🙂

  36. RC78 says:

    New post…

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