Xhaka bosses, Rambo buzzes, Jack must play: Early Euros-Gunners observations

The Euros kicked off on Friday and the football has been more than reasonable. It usually takes a week before the footie gets really good but it seldom reaches the levels of club football. For that we have to wait only two months now as the PL will kick off on 13th August.

As I stated in a recent post, Granite Xhaka is a deep playmaker of a central midfielder who resembles Arteta in his best years at Arsenal. I reckon Granite has the physical and technical attributes to be a better version of the ‘Arteta role’ but we will have to wait and see. Xhaka has a good, pro-active eye for what is going to happen next: a sign of a true, quality, Wengeresque midfielder.  Anticipating the next action and then taking control is what really good footballers do, and Xhaka loves to do that. He created space for himself and spread the ball beautifully, opting between short and simple and more risky, long-distance passes constantly. To have him sit in front of the defence and start our attacks from deep is a mouthwatering prospect. The Swiss did look nervous towards the end and almost, just like sorry England, gave away two points towards the end of the game. I will have to have a closer look at Xhaka’s defensive qualities; there may still be first team starts for Francis Le Coq..

I loved the way Wales took on the Slovaks in their opening game. A high press gave their opponents no time to breath and the Welsh combined well when in possession. They were oozing confidence and had bags of energy, and it was good to see the wall of red – the new orange?! – of their supporters passionately supporting their boys. Rambo enjoyed the freedom of playing in front of the impressive Allen and beastly Bale, and if he stays fit he will be able to play a key role in his team’s Euros performances. Let’s hope Jack gets a start against the Welsh and we will see both of our finest sons compete against each other at the highest level.

England played very well but, just like Arsenal so often, they did not kill the game off.  And then there is a Stoke or Crystal Palace like ball into the box and a small defender has no chance against a giant attacker, and two valuable points are dropped: sounds familiar? Rooney, Walker, Cahill and Dier were very impressive and the rest just ran and ran without much purpose. Hodgson is counting on the wrong players to get him through this group and I hope he will see sense and play the likes of Jack and Vardy from the start…

Ozil produced a typical run followed by a pin-point cross that was not to be missed, even by Schweini, and another Gunner left the field with a smile on his face.

All good in Gunners Eurodom!!

Lots more to talk about and I’d love to hear your early Euros observations!

By TotalArsenal.


25 thoughts on “Xhaka bosses, Rambo buzzes, Jack must play: Early Euros-Gunners observations

  • TA, Cheers for the new post… I went in and switched the toggle to “allow comments.” I’m not sure why we have to do this with each new post, but so it seems….

  • Sad to watch Cech beat by Pigue.. after a very special performance.. The game almost done.. 5 more minutes.. And how Rosicky look very angry..
    Morata is an avarage striker.. And where
    is our Bellerin..??
    Spain is very lucky to have Iniesta.. Silva almost did nothing.. hehehe..

    TA.. Ramsey will continue to his best.. but I don’t think Wilshere will overcome Rooney..

  • Morning BKers

    I don’t know how many Gooners have told me that we should replace Girouf with world class strikers like Kane or Lukaku. Now we have seen them all play for the national teams, you can see how good Ollie really is in allowing a team to play football around him whilst having a meaningful threat himself simultaneously. Lukaku was incredibly poor in shielding the ball, anticipating where the space would be and linking up with the other attackers; and when he had chances he fluffed his lines time and again. Kane will have his moments and should develop further, as he is still young, but England are taking a big risk to centre the attack around him this tournament.

    Last night’s game suited the cynical Italians to the bone, and it tells us a lot of what we can expect from the Chavs next season. Yes they defended well and the Belgians ran into their knives time and again, but I want to see them play when they need to attack and make play. The Belgians lacked confidence and cohesion which comes as a result of lack of big tournament experience as well as not playing Dembele for some reason, but you can tell they wanted to play football which goes a long way for me. And the way the Italians cynically chopped down every break away towards the end of the game, resulting in a number of yellow cards, did not impress me. But it was a good game to watch 😀

  • Rooney played very well, heheheheHenry. Butt there is need and space for both of them. Play 4-1-2-3 with Jack and Rooney in the two and Dier holding behind …. and Bob is your uncle.

  • Hi TA…Glad you’re enjoying the football…

    Over here my watching has been pretty hit and miss. Between the two tournaments it’s basically football all day long (plus the basketball every 2 or 3 evenings, plus the news and the political overload…) so I’m rarely able to settle in and watch for long periods. I missed Albania-Switzerland (completely), for example. No match this morning, however, which is a disappointment… The Copa America group stage is wrapping up and the big story are the two handball calls… Chile (playing poorly) benefited from a very (very) late pen that was very (very) soft and Brazil went out to a hand-of-god goal from Paraguay. Terrible. I believe Argentina play today and things look set up for them to face the two home teams (USA and Mexico) in the semis and finals, assuming those teams (and the refs) keep them in it that long… Venezuela, suffering even more than other oil economies, have been buoyed by their run (and beating Uruguay) but will face Messi, Di Maria, El Kun, etc., etc, in the quarters; they blew it by giving up a late goal to Mexico last night. Mexico, however, have to get past Chile in their 1/4 final which could be one to watch… Others might be fun too, and it’s a very different sort of game (more wide open, more chances for individual running and playmaking, lots of tired players fouling or rolling around after being fouled…) so a chance to scout some players who might (or might not…) have what it takes to make it in England (or elsewhere in Europe)… Do you guys get this on the telly?…

    By contrast, while there have indeed been some entertaining matches thus far, (Sweden-Ireland, yesterday was fun, for example…) I think the Euros can only improve in the 2nd round as teams know what they need, points-wise, from their matches; the third round could also be fun given the format (only 8 teams out at the group stage). To me, this first round has featured a lot of conservative play, which I don’t mind as that’s what Arsenal also face much of the time. I concur, 100% about Lukaku… I also think many of these speedy and (supposedly) more clinical forwards look a good deal more pedestrian when teams are able to sit back. I’m talking about guys like Hazard and De Bruyne (and Mertens) yesterday but also Greizmann the other night (I didn’t see much of the Spain match, but reports are that Morata did not impress; another who looked poor was Mandzukic for Croatia…) So far, I’m mostly seeing well spaced play but not a lot in the way of good (lateral movement and passing to break the final lines of defense. As such, it seems mostly about pot shots (wonder strikes…) and crosses or longer balls through the air, but then again, like I say, I haven’t been able to watch all that much and I haven’t really sought out the highlight packages…

    So, overall not much to contribute (despite the high word count)…Thanks again for watching and giving your impressions…

  • Hey 17 🙂

    I have not watched any of the Copa games, but my dad in Holland watches most of them. How is Alexis playing?

    Agreed the footie can and will improve but there is plenty to get from the games, and there is almost always an (ex) Gunners link to each of them, which helps. It is like travelling back in time seeing Djourou, Verminator, Rosa, Wojciech etc play.

    You are right re forwards looking less good when space and speed are restricted. Ollie is used to this and it looks like the French players want to play with and off him, which is key to getting the best out of our handsome Frenchman 😄

  • Hey TA, I watched quite a bit of their (one) tough match vs Argentina and only just happened to tune in at the end of the match they won with the (very marginal) handball…Alexis kicked the ball into the guy’s arm and he was just about the only guy who hadn’t completely given up on getting the win (it was in the 6th of 8 extra minutes) so you could give him some credit there. Overall, I see his game getting worse and worse and worse…All head down running with only a look for a pass when he (finally realizes) he’s down a cul-du-sac. In other words just about every time he touches the ball it ends up with the other team… (Argentina put them away with two quick goals, both on the break…) Of course, his teammates aren’t moving into the good positions he would see at a higher level of play (like with Arsenal)… So, for me, while the work rate and self-belief are spectacular, it’s not a team game he’s playing, which is the only path forward (IMO) when the players are better… He will, however, be the very best (or at least the fittest and most committed) player on the pitch (along with his mate Vidal…) vs Mexico in the quarterfinal but my guess is that their superior team approach will prevail. As scary as the fans in Europe may be, I fear they have even more influence on the refs here in the Western Hemisphere, so, big advantage to Mexico in that one just as Chile had a year ago…

    Just my take on things, of course…

    Since it’s just you and me talking (and because the politics are off limits…) maybe I can stir the pot by suggesting that I think it would be VERY interesting (and very good, IMO…) if the Vardy business is all subterfuge to get Mahrez at Arsenal…For me, of all the players who could slot into the wide forward positions (from where I believe we really need goals…) he’s the one we might be able to get who might hit the ground running… (Mkhitaryan is older and hasn’t had the best fitness record but I wouldn’t mind BOTH at Arsenal…) His (or their…) presence would put a lot of pressure on the likes of Alexis and Theo (and Campbell, Ox, Iwobi, etc.) to really perform (or find themselves another club)… Another reason we might be able to get him is that his value is compromised (somewhat, and exactly like Elneny’s…) by the fact he will be missing for parts of January and February for the AFCON…

  • Agree with 17 about how Alexis can be frustrating often, with occasional brilliance, but still have to love him regardless..
    I’ve never gone for the hype on Lukaku overall, but he did score a fair amount the past few years.. i still dont want him. And i still say Vardy is already done deal for Arsenal.

    How great is this sport, that the so-called off season can be more exciting almost than regular season….with copa America and Euros and transfer market.

  • Like with the politics… Nothing but respect J…but I don’t really like the over-hype on the transfer season and I’m really hoping the Vardy stuff isn’t happening…esp. if it were to allow Mahrez to come our way…

    My objection to the Vardy transfer is mostly that he was the heart and soul of that LC team (for better and worse…) and bossing lesser clubs around (even when they were better than us, irony of ironies…) and players showing their mercenary side is the ugly side of the sport, IMO… My objection to transfer season is it’s just another excuse to focus on (trying to guarantee) the result (winning) than the actual playing of the football…

    The national game doesn’t do it for me, either, as, except for a couple of teams, the level is a good deal lower and then playing for 120 and pens doesn’t help either… Plus, we’re all one big planet and we should be working together… Just my opinion again, and maybe (even that) is too political a statement… National pride doesn’t bother me, until it get’s excessive, but that’s mostly with the support, not the players who (I think) can choose to play for their birth country, their parents’ country of origin or where they’ve been plying their trade (living)…

    Don’t let my sour attitude spoil anything for anybody, however, as always, etc., etc., etc…

  • Thanks for the Sanchez update, 17ht. Alexis needs a break from international football, I feel. Two tournaments in 12 months or so is too much.

  • …And, there are some fun (and unique) elements to the International game…

    For example, the match I taped, Portugal-Iceland, which I’m watching now, was “spoiled” because I heard the result on the radio…except that I now want to watch it more, knowing that it ended in a draw, as I have a special interest in Icelandic football…

    When we lived in Spain (Autumn 2012) we became friends with an Icelandic family whose kid, 9 year old, Baldur Aesgurson, happened to be the best footballer at the school. This made life kind of tough on him as he had zero Spanish coming into his year there and the local kids were not uniformly friendly, all the time… The father, Aesgur (Aesgurson) knew his football (he paid for his US college education through his own soccer, er, football skills…) and said he knew all the national team players… For those who remember, those were dark days for our club, but they were nice about it even if they were mostly Chelsea and Barca supporters due to their friendship with Eidur Gudjohnson… At the time, Aesgar was spending more of his energy learning about Spanish wines, so it was always fun to watch matches with him…

    Anyhow, it hasn’t happened yet–maybe because it’s still daylight there–but soon enough their Facebook page should be blowing up and we’ll have to slip a congratulations in there somewhere…

  • I have a confession to make. Even though it’s unlikely, I have been hoping Chile would be eliminated quickly, because Alexis needs the rest. I feel guilty because I want him to succeed and be happy. But I get over it quickly because he and Chile did get the glory last summer.

  • Love the Iceland background info, 17HT. With just 300,000 inhabitants, Iceland did themselves proud with that historic draw; and please thank your mate for making CR look such a dick.

  • Guys,

    Caught the highlights of the Iceland match and they play like Swansea. Not sure why Ronaldo said that they were negative but this is how EPL plays.

    We get Liverfools in our first match of the new season.

    And Alexis just could no stop creating and scoring. Apparently rest makes him rust, and games make him better. Everyone would like Alexis to rest, but somehow he is best strutting his stuff day in and out.


  • Hey T, Guardiola was in last week or so, ive seen him before. Saw pogba last year, met Abramovich once, his girl did all the talking. Missed Fergie, i would’ve asked him to recommend us to Arsene !

  • Watching Coman seems like exactly the same player as Sterling. Will have their moments im sure. But you can keep them. I just wish our Ox would break out for us. My biggest fear is selling him, then he hits his potential, which i think is incredibly high.

  • Xhaka did it again.. Wow.. what a great buying.. Was he got another MOTM..??

    I didn’t watch France game’s.. Did Giroud play well..?? I hope so..
    And Glad to have Sanchez back at his best..

  • Ko Henry,

    It looked like Xhaka is both an Ozil and Elneny, equals a Viera.
    His tackles looked too much for the referees of EPL, so we might see something very interesting.

  • More violence from a portion of England fans, a part of it is caused by Russian supporters.

    They should not be watching any matches. I watched the Russia match yesterday via the British espn channel and at half time they mentioned about their own British fans, and i feel that they have gone overboard.

    England have to get their act right regardless of what their fans have done. Their manager has been choosing the wrong formation and against Wales they should not play the spu** way. Play a more compact and quick football and you will win the game.


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