Captain Granit It Is, And Rightly So! Now Emery Has To Make One More Key Decision.

So Emery has announced that, after consulting with players, whatever that means, Xhaka will be our permanent captain.

This makes sense for those who look beyond just what a player does with the ball and whether they make mistakes or not. Not that Xhaka is rubbish with the ball – far from it: the Swiss Conductor is Arsenal’s shared top tackler, second for blocks, first for long balls and third for key passes – but leading the team is about much more than that. And yes Granit does make the occasional mistake, sometimes costly ones, but Emery is willing to accept this. And so he should.

I know many fellow British Gooners (and many non-Brits too) will not agree with this, but what the English national needs badly is a conductor like Xhaka. Football is so much more than speed, aggression and athleticism, but it proves really hard to get this into the average football supporter. If you think about the unbelievable passion for the game here and the size of the nation, it is almost beyond comprehension that the England national team has not won anything other than the 1966 World Cup, 53 years ago. You have to ask yourself what could be the cause of this…

Xhaka’s lack of initial speed – we should note that, as PE pointed out a few times, once Granit starts running he gets gradually faster – makes him not the traditional, and much loved, total DM. His tackling is also not world class, I give you that too. But he is our fulcrum in the midfield, makes by a distance the most passes in the team (with high accuracy despite his focus on making progressive/attacking passes as much as possible), and he gives our play composure and structure constantly. Nobody else in the team has that ability. Nobody. And without this we are simply lost.

Torreira is a better midfield-defender, and the Uruguayan pit-bull should play close to Xhaka so they can get the best out of each other, but he has not got the overview and that ability to set the tempo and keep the team’s composure as yet. This is vital in the modern game.

Guendouzi has potential, but his defensive reading of the game and ability to sense where the danger will be next needs much development. I prefer him in front of the ‘DM-pivot’.

Shouts for Chambers and Luiz in midfield are appealing, but only next to Xhaka, not instead of him imo. And why should we move fine defenders into midfield when we have Torreira who seldom or never has a bad game?

Making Xhaka our captain and fulcrum of our team is a good move by Emery – or conformation of how things are already done at Arsenal – and the Spaniard’s next step should be to make Torreira the Swiss meastro’s permanent ‘DM-Pivot’ partner in either a 4-2-1-3 (ideally) or 3-4-3 formation.

Only then will we get the very best out of Granit Xhaka and establish the foundation for a successful team.

By TotalArsenal.



40 thoughts on “Captain Granit It Is, And Rightly So! Now Emery Has To Make One More Key Decision.

  • A fine post Total.

    Personally I’m just happy that a decision has been made and seemingly it’s the players choice which makes it even better. He obviously has the respect of his team mates and that will be a positive in both the dressing room and on the field of play.

    I’ll be sending the Man U post either later today or in the morning.

  • Thanks GN5 and agreed, it is important that he is respected on and off the pitch by the players (and hopefully now all the fans too).

    Thanks for the heads up re preview. Looking forward to it!

  • OK, OK. Granit it is.
    I laughed at this:
    “Xhaka’s lack of initial speed – we should note that, as PE pointed out a few times, once Granit starts running he gets gradually faster …”

    Perhaps he should start sooner? 👍
    Just a thought.


  • Here we go again, this relentless blind positivity, while i agree Granit has his uses, to say the team lacks a conductor without him is why i dont take your articles serious. Granit got hooked against Villa and we still managed to score more than when he was on. Football is about Goals and he offers this team very little in terms of assists or goals, also lets not mention his horrible disciplinary record, guy is a liability defensively yet he holds our midfield. Big mistake from Unai, esp when he has many better options, honestly what decisions does Unai actually get right pre game? not many.
    ps i actually like Granit nothing personal either but Captain is loooooool, big joke when hes not indispensable.
    Have you even watched us with Joe Willock??

  • Well JtA, you are allowed to have your opinion, but I will answer your Willock question: Yes I have and like him in a midfield with Xhaka and Torreira (but not instead of Xhaka of course).

  • The NF game was good to watch but they never were interested in giving us a proper game. The Villa come back was of course good, but the way we played was nothing to write home about…

  • Inevitable given the rest of the squad. My vote would have been to give the armband to Holding as he is the nearest we have to TA & PV4.

    My concern is that Xhaka is a decent player but we need better if AFC are to regain their place at the top table of football. I have hopes insomuch as we have some fine young players who will develop together into a cohesive midfield. It takes time and fortunately Douzi, Willock, Torriera, Smith Rowe and AMN have many years ahead (hopefully at AFC).

  • I saw it coming. In my BK post of March 24th 2018, on the topic of a future captain for the team I wrote this about Xhaka ……..

    “Xhaka comes across as one of those fellows whose mere presence gets people tidying their details. On top of that, I’ve never seen his shoulders drop, never seen him fazed by what is or what was. And look how he’s suddenly become a pillar on the pitch. I never saw that coming but on this here topic his silhouette is clearly recognizable. He has captaincy written all over him.”

    TA, agreeing with you that the captain of a team need not necessarily be the most dazzling on the field. Most important is the player who commands the best respect, on and off the field, from his colleagues. I don’t see who else now that Nacho has departed. Next on the line imo is Holding.

    Let’s give him our support. Congratulations Granit.

  • Erik, did you ever watch Xhaka for the Swiss national team? He is their main man as well and yet he seldom makes mistakes for them and looks like a quality midfielder alright. I reckon he can be our main man too, but key is to offer him the right levels of protection and don’t play him as the sole DM.

  • Here is this week’s prediction round (Home Win, Away Win, Draw):
    Sheffield United v Pool
    Villa v Burnley
    Bournemouth v West Ham
    Wolves v Watford
    Everton v Man City
    Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid

    Please copy and paste the games and add your prediction (for ease of comparison).

  • Sheffield United v Pool: Draw
    Villa v Burnley: Draw
    Bournemouth v West Ham: Home
    Wolves v Watford: Home
    Everton v Man City: Away
    Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid: Draw

  • Sheffield United v Pool – Away
    Villa v Burnley – Home
    Bournemouth v West Ham – Away
    Wolves v Watford – Draw
    Everton v Man City – Away
    Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid – Home

  • If Xhaka had been a good choice there would be no debate on the appointment. We are so used to mediocrity. We should have kept Monreal and made him captain this season whilst a suitable choice was being assessed like what City did with David Silva. Emery is a joke for real. He failed at PG with all the money in the world. That says it all. Went for 2 months with no captain lol

  • Agreed with TA and PE as usual. 🙂

    Xhaka is 82 kg of sheer muscle. He might not be the most disciplined player on the pitch, but he is always focused, and his loyalty to the team is undisputed. Granite has captain experience not only from Arsenal, but he inherited the Swiss armband from Lichtsteiner in the national team. He makes his presence felt a lot more than Leno could, that gives weight to his claims.

    For many fans appointing Xhaka as captain is bad news as they would rather see him benched, and start the team sheet with Guendouzi ahead of him. For me it is good news, as I prefer to see him ahead of young Matteo.

    Let’s hope that it clears up confusion (maybe appoint Lacazette and Holding as vice-captains), and we start playing attractive and efficient football again.
    Congratulations, Granit!

  • Hi TA… I’m busy, busy…so much so that I won’t be around midday on Monday and I’ll have to watch the battle of the (former?) big clubs on tape.

    Personally, I don’t think naming Xhaka at this moment sends a good message–though the player vote helps. (Emery increasingly appears a dead man walking to me, not so far off from how he finished last season. Picking another figure who the fans have turned upon seems a bit of a doubling-down, as they say… On that note, why not Mustafi?… 😀 …)

    On the other hand, I really don’t think the captaincy matters too much. Jordan Henderson is the captain at Pool and I wouldn’t pick him in my first 11 (for the bigger games, i.e. vs Man City…) if I were the Klopp-ster… Of course, unlike at Arsenal, Henderson doesn’t have fans telling him to go walk alone (off the end of a short pier)…. Maybe it’s easier to pick a captain when you’ve always got that 12th man… 😦

    I don’t really think Leno (nor Martinez) is the answer, but keeper–when you play our style of football–seems a logical spot for somebody who wears the armband. CB too…and I understand that folks are hopeful for Holding, but let’s remember that he was only just getting some starts when he went down hurt. Does anybody know why he is returning (from the same injury, I’m pretty sure) at the same time as Bellerin when his rupture was a couple of months (I’m pretty sure…) earlier?

    Anyways, I wouldn’t expect either to do any starting until after the next Int’l break…

    Contest Picks…Cheers for putting it together and I like that you’re including the La Liga match.

    Sheffield United v Pool – Away
    Villa v Burnley – Home
    Bournemouth v West Ham – Home
    Wolves v Watford – Home
    Everton v Man City – Away
    Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid – Draw

  • Congratulations, Granit Xhaka! Never in doubt, really. He may not be every fan’s “flavour of the month” candidate but it is hard to see too many other players at the club today more deserving. The man is a leader and Rob Holding recently disclosed how he’d long been the player in charge of discipline in the dressing room/off the pitch; he made him out like uncompromising in dishing out the agreed fines for misdemeanours. On the pitch, he is passionate about our performance. That’s one key thing we need now.

    The claims about his disciplinary record are stuff of myth, if you ask me. Most of his yellow cards are from “professional” fouls (taking one for the team) while a few calls against him have been purely the ref responding to his reputation (I am looking at you, Jon Moss; those two red cards to welcome him to England were farcical). As a pointer, Man United’s Luke Shaw had more yellow cards in the EPL than Xhaka, last season. I don’t see anyone accusing him of being indisciplined or “dirty”. Xhaka didn’t receive a red card in 2018/2019 in the EPL, either.

    We need to just support the man now and allow him lead us to some good times.

  • Did I add that the choice was made by the other players in a vote (not sure why Emery opted for this); besides, Xhaka has been entrusted with the arm band at every side he’s played for, even at such a young age, culminating in taking over captaincy from Lichsteiner for Switzerland. That’s not to be scoffed at.

    On the predictions game:

    Sheffield United v Pool: Away
    Villa v Burnley: Home
    Bournemouth v West Ham: Home
    Wolves v Watford: Draw
    Everton v Man City: Away
    Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid: Draw

  • Sorry to hear you are so busy and even have to miss the Mancs game, Seventeenho. Hope it is for a good cause. Not sure whether Emery is a dead man walking though. Not as yet if you ask me (unless there is a big loss on Monday).

    Thanks for the predictions.

    GN5, thank you too.

  • Sheffield United v Pool: A
    Villa v Burnley: D
    Bournemouth v West Ham: D
    Wolves v Watford: H
    Everton v Man City: A
    Atletico Madrid v Real Madrid: H

  • Hmmm. PE, you think Madrid will lose to Atleti? I think Zizu’s boys have smelt blood now and won’t let up that easily again. But, hey! It’s your reading and we’ll just have to wait and see.

  • Reading that Emery has named the rest of his “five captains” to assist Granit Xhaka, as follows: Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Hector Bellerin.

  • Eris …. obviously it’s more about the harmony of the dressing room than anything else and to me that’s right. The Tony Adam’s style of captaincy is long gone. The dressing room today is a club of millionaires who must be handled rather delicately.

  • The reason that I don’t like Xhaka as captain is that it makes him pretty much undroppable from the starting 11. To me, I’d have Guendouzi, and Torreira ahead of him, and I’d like to see some other combos including Willock, with my first 2 choices. More athletic and dynamic, also more helpful defensively when called for.

  • supporting our coach decision is nt optional, that is what we always do and thats what a true fan does,i want us to focus on something about our coach,i don’t think he’s good enough to lead our team,give some coach this Arsenal current team and they will easily get you top 3 in the table when season end but am not sure our coach can do that with his error par game this season,there is one thing that is so sure is our coach is going to received his Sack letter sooner or later reasons 1 he lack ability to read the game and made the right changes in time when needed 2 he seems not capable enough to select the right formation thats why he keeps Rotating every match 3 he played player out off position 4 he gets Comfused easily especialy when we are Loosing 5 he is not the type that Heed to anyone Advice,as for Xhaka i will not used him as our captain,why same Mistake since his first season,he’s not the type youth players and others can learn from because he’s error Prone ps his record of red cards,Penalty,Fouls

  • We have seen with BFG that being club captain does not guarantee a starting place.

    TA. Yes, I think Xhaka does very well for Switzerland but that is not the level I am looking for in our midfield, I want France.

    SU/L Away
    AV/B Draw
    B/WHU Home
    W/W Home
    E/MC Away
    AM/RM Home

  • Ah, Jync. But, the thing is Xhaka had always been “undroppable” with every manager he’s had to work with. There’s got to be a reason for that! He played ALL 38 league games in Wenger’s last season and has only missed games under Emery for fitness reasons. Let’s even admit we cannot be more knowledgeable than those who work with the players every day.

    Captains can be dropped or subbed off, though, as Henderson gets to experience from time to time at Liverpool. Xhaka came off too in our game vs Villa (his detractors said it was because he “stank” the place up and no wonder we scored 2, after); ostensibly because he had played 90 minutes in 3 games, on the bounce (including in midweek against Frankfurt), as stated by the manager.

  • That is interesting, J. Imo both Torreira and Guendouzi need Xhaka to organise the midfield as they are both too driven by the moment, by where the ball is. But Xhaka needs Torreira’s skills much more than Guendouzi’s as so for me the played-together-combo of Xhaka and Torreira is by far the most effective one we have. In the big games/hard away games, I would add Willock to the midfield, as that would give us even more steel and composure there.

  • very good point, gooneris, about undroppable xhaka, whoever his manager may have been; thanks.
    this is one of the reasons i never argue about granit, although he has never been in my favourite XI, ever since he joined us.
    the other reasons: many season ticket holders seem to like him a lot, and of course their impressions are more reliable than mine, an absentee fan watching tv. eventually, the high esteem in which his peers hold him, also speaks volumes about what he must bring to a squad …
    i just can’t change my mind about the lad, but i’ve come to the conclusion that i must be mistaken about him

  • In the three seasons Xhaka has been with us he averaged a whopping 45 games per season. No doubt he was our main passer of the ball in those games, maybe together with Mesut when the German was still loved by a manager. In such a position mistakes will be made and Xhaka needs to work on this…. but it should not cloud the enormous importance of him within the team.

    I also prefer a captain in midfield rather than in defence, but I agree with many that Holding is future captain material.

  • Xhaka also has already 78 caps (11 goals) for the Swiss team. Personally, I wish he was allowed to shoot more as there is so much venom in that left leg of his and it would be good to make opponents worry about that sort of threat, but in the modern game the stats determine what needs to happen and long distance shots are not deemed very effective…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s