Captain Xhaka Should Start on Saturday And Be Welcomed Back With Open Arms

Dark clouds have gathered above the home of football. A club that prides itself with a historical ‘slogan’ of Victory Through Harmony has its home ‘supporters’ shamefully jeer their own captain when his substitution was announced and then boo him off the pitch. What sort of club have we become? What has happened to our values?

You have to give it to Emery, though. All the focus is now on his captain rather than him and the football on display, and it was a shrewd move to take Granit off and make him do the walk of blame and shame in front of the grumbling, blood-thirsty home support. It’s the sort of tactics – straight for the dark arts book by Mourinho – that makes me despise our manager even more, but I have said enough about this in my previous posts; this one is about our responsibility to stand behind our players, and especially our captain.

Whether YOU rate him or not, Granit is pivotal to our team, much loved by his fellow players and always gives his all for the shirt. He makes by far the most passes in the game, always looks for space to move into and thinks ahead of where the ball will be next or should be next. Just like Mesut Ozil, he does not only play with his feet but also with his head. I have said in previous posts that most followers of Arsenal do not appreciate this enough – many actually don’t see it at all – and are just obsessed with athleticism and what players do WITH the ball. Football is so much more than running yourself into the ground, dribbling with the ball, etc.

I readily admit that Xhaka is not the best midfielder in Europe, but, as I have said many times, combine him with the right midfielders and he is a force to be reckoned with. Emery just keeps combining Xhaka with Guendouzi and a limited advanced attacking midfielder, and it just doesn’t work. Granit knows this and it frustrates the hell out of him.

Emery is to blame for both the ineffective use of Xhaka as well as the supporter situation the Swiss maestro now finds himself in.

You may argue that Xhaka should have just ran off the pitch, thanked the manager and gladly found a spot on the bench. Well I like a man with passion and pride, and the very fact that he was hurt and stood up for himself in front of 60000 ‘Roman’ ‘supporters’, should make us all realise that he actually is a gladiator, leader and captain.

But let there be no doubt that we as a club and a bunch of entertainment-deprived supporters are making a big mistake by cutting into our own flesh like this. Other Arsenal players have taken note and prospective players will have done so too. At Arsenal You Walk Alone, it seems, and why would anyone want to play for us? This is not the sort of club I want Arsenal to be and I am saddened by the behaviour of my fellow supporters.

Forget about counselling session for Xhaka and making it all about him. He should start v Wolves as our captain this Saturday and we should give him a warm and fecking loud applause. Lets show our class again and get behind our team and captain: we are much bigger than this….

…..and then blow the Wolves to bits.

Victory Through Harmony!

By TotalArsenal.

40 thoughts on “Captain Xhaka Should Start on Saturday And Be Welcomed Back With Open Arms

  • Hi guys! I like a lot reading your thoughts and your blog but i disagree with you on that one. There is something missing beyond what Xhaka does on a pitch (I’m no fan to be honest but he has never been helped especially by a certain Ramsey) and beyond the shameful attitude of the fans: did Xhaka apologise to the club, to his coach who made him captain and to his partners who confirmed his captaincy? You know the quarrel between Mourinho and Özil, but what few know and what Özil wrote in his book: afterwards he thought of this when in the dressing room alone while his partners were on the pitch for the second half. And when the game was over, he was there and apologised to them for letting them down, to not have come back on the bench for the second half. He apologised to them and to the coach.
    What did Xhaka do? I DO hope that the captain did apologise because his attitude to refuse to shake hands with Laca, to remove the jersey, to not even come on the bench is not forgivable. He is supposed to be the captain.

    The fans were wrong, yes, but how many players, even great ones, got booed and stayed calm and proud. Mustafi was attacked a countelss of times even by his own coach! He got booed during the pre season in the US!? He stayed, fought for his place and now he is at least respected. Giroud got booed countless of times when being substituted for France. Countless of times: harrassed by the fans, the press and now he is applauded when he comes on to save the result. Bale was booed in Bernabeu, now he gets standing ovations. These players never showed the slighest sign of anger towards the fans and they were not captain.

  • Total. I fully endorse your feelings towards “supporters” who boo their own players – it’s simply despicable behaviour.

    Our mid- field should be our engine room we need it to both purr with creativity and roar with aggression, Xhaka adds the aggression but the creativity is sadly missing. We have super stars up front who are being starved of the service they need.

    Playing against Liverpool’s 2nd level of players may offer us an opportunity to achieve, but personally I’m losing faith in all aspects of Emery’s ability – we can but hope for another miracle at Anfield.

    I just hope that we don’t see Ozil used as Emery’s sacrificial lamb.

  • Seriously?hacker the warrior? R u taking the piss?hehe too bloody slow to be one.hardly ever makes a tackle & when he does it’s a foul or mistake.take your pick.i couldn’t care if you paired him with paddy viera & Roy Keane it wouldn’t make a blind bit of difference.has the mobility & speed of an oil tanker lol! & as I’ve said repeatedly hacker will get Emery the sacker.end of.

  • This article is absolute tripe.

    I feel like you might be an armchair fan who only sees highlights of matches. For someone who attends every match and watches this player very closely, as I wanted him to be a success, I cannot fathom how this man is in the Arsenal squad. He offers nothing going forward and nothing defensively. His build up play is so slow that he is the oppositions best defender. He commits ridiculous fouls and has been suspect, as we know, for many penalties. He doesn’t have a footballing brain, he runs around like a headless chicken. I genuinely believe that the rare time he pops up with a goal, everyone completely forgets every unforgivable mistake this man makes. There was a time last season where nearly every goal we conceded was roughly 60% either Xhaka or Mustafi’s error. It’s embarrassing to see fans supporting him and hoping he’ll come good after 4 years of mediocrity. This shows how far we have fallen that not only do we accept a below average player in our first team but we allow a below average player, who it’s rumoured, came out in the summer saying he wanted to move to a bigger club to realise his ambition, to become our club captain.

    What happened on Sunday was years of frustration at an Arsenal team that on paper (if emery played our best 11) is good enough to challenge for the league, continuing to be embarrassed by lesser teams. The rest of the league is laughing at us, laughing at who our captain is, laughing at the decisions made by our manager and laughing at incredibly fragile our core is.

    Xhaka was one of two players at fault (again) for Palace’s second goal, he offered nothing the entire match and if you were there, you saw the two times that he played a seemingly simple pass straight at a Palace player on the halfway line leading to two dangerous counter attacks. To say he had a poor game would be an understatement, he was an invisible man except for the glaring mistakes that he made. He should have been subbed off at half time for Torreira to steel up our defence. It was no surprise that his number was held up to get him off and bring on an attacking player so we could chase the game. No one boo’d him at all, until he turned into a petulant child. To see our club captain throw a tantrum and refuse to run off was the catalyst to set off the fans for all the frustration we have had brewing. The fact that you call this man a ‘gladiator, leader and captain’ for standing up for himself shows you to be just as delusional as Xhaka for thinking he is world class. His reaction was immature, petty and completing embarrassing.

    I am embarrassed to call this man my club captain. He has no ability, no leadership, no control of a game or his own actions. Sunday was a dark day for our club because we had to watch the man given the responsibility to represent make us a laughing stock to the footballing world. He should never play for Arsenal again, let alone captain them. Let him ‘realise his potential’ with someone else.

    Garbage article.

  • Good stuff, Alex. I don’t disagree regarding the need for some sort of apology but being jeered when you get substituted is very low and why should he stand for that?!

  • MakeLacaCaptain

    The manner in which you responded to this article is disrespectful to an excellant author and it sounds like you are one of the “fans” who booed our captain off of the pitch.

    I’m among the majority of loyal Arsenal who are bitterly disappointed with our results but I put the blame squarely on the shoulder’s of Emery – and in the many hundreds of game I’ve watched dating back to 1947 I have never once booed a player – those that are small minded enough to do so – simply make my blood boil!

  • Hi again fellas… Today is a big travel day for me (jumping over my home state, though maybe I’ll be able to see it all lit up from the fires…) but I’ll be trying to check in on the match at Anfield as my interweb connections allow… Anyhow, more on that one lower down…

    Indeed, TA, I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head–and the future of Xhaka, this next weekend and beyond–is just a way of looking at the demise of our club (and, perhaps, our entire culture…) as a whole. What have we become?

    A football club has many constituents: The owner fronts up the cash and his management team spends it to assemble a squad of players who work (as a team, perhaps…) to put the ball in the opponent’s net, ideally more often than we have to pull it out of our own. Meanwhile, the fans, paying with their wallets (for tickets or TV or streaming services) and their time/energy, offer support (or criticism, constructive or otherwise…) any which way they can (or deem appropriate). The key, the absolutely MOST essential part, is that all constituents want the same thing: the glory of something bigger than their individual selves–and being a part (big or small) of something they consider successful and something which, of course, they could NEVER create on their own…

    Sadly, IMO, Arsenal have lost this. And, we’re ALL to blame…

    Or, at least, the extent to which we’re (each of us, individually) able to look into the mirror and take that responsibility (blame ourselves) is the extent to which we MIGHT be able to help the team (club) turn this thing around. From what Emery is saying (notably not taking any blame/responsibility himself…) is that Granit Xhaka is exploring (getting counseling on) his part in the debacle…

    Stop reading here…or allow me to indulge some (repetitive) personal history…

    I fell into Arsenal in 2006 (when I lived for a few glorious months at my screenname) and many Gooners probably see that same year (of the stadium move) as the beginning of our descent to where we are now. From having the lead in the CL final, to rapidly liquidating that squad of players (many of whom were invincible over 49 matches a couple of years before) to “stagnating” under a manager who actually DID (IMO) try to look in the mirror and accept responsibility…to this… Emery, yanking “his” captain, who reacted as a human rather than as a pawn (you know, the game-pieces all too often sacrificed in chess…) and the “supporters” taking it upon themselves to boo him off the pitch… Wowsa, what a long, strange trip it’s been, as the fat (and bearded) guy used to sing…

    If I’m to blame myself, I also would also like to at least give a sideways glance to the internet, which seemed such a boon to my Arsenal experience (at the time) and which is the principal venue where I’m a follower of Arsenal nowadays. (Please note, I can’t, in good conscience, consider myself a “supporter,” I’ve only paid for tickets once…and now, as I said the other day, I’m just watching the car crash, unable to turn away…)

    Back in ’06, the Goonersphere was nascent, Arseblog was just a blog (but with true quality–look what it has achieved and grown into). I read it daily, and soon started posting at an “official” ffan’s site called Arsenal America. The bloggers there got kicked off soon afterwards–for being relentlessly critical of Wenger and the players, but it spawned many spin-offs, some good (7amkickoff) some taking the critical element to laughable heights (ArsenalTruth) and some just hoping to ride the tide and give folks a place to post (YouAreMyArsenal). I continued to comment at the latter site until it too became too much (too critical) to endure. Then TA encouraged me here at BKesque, named in honor of a player who played the team game AND made it beautiful…

    In my view, that team spirit–along with the vestiges of anything beautiful are gone–long gone–from our club, replaced by an individualism that permeates every part of it. From Kroenke’s goal of being the most $ucce$$ful sports owner (ever) to Raul (I’m guessing…) wanting his own enrichment and maybe a return to Barcelona as club president, to Emery and results only (hey, we’re still 5th in the league…) football and his (purposely?) faulty English (in Spanish, the words are, “la falta es mia” and responsibilidad…) to the players who can’t quite bear to be held to blame (Xhaka’s departure on Sunday being most emblematic)… Why should they? If nobody else will and everybody just wants want to get thumbs up (on the interweb) by pointing fingers at others?…

    Thanks for indulging me so far (those who might still be reading…) and now I’ll try to wrap it up…with more personal history…

    Today we play at Anfield–where, win or lose, their supporters will sing YNWA… In truth, we probably (maybe desperately…) want to avoid more matches in the league cup, especially as Emery seems (under orders from above?) to save our (cheaper salaried) youth players for the PL matches and promotion (back to the CL–by any means necessary…)is the WHOLE thing. So, tonight at least, losing IS winning. BUT, if you’re watching Arsenal just for the opportunities to be a pundit, indulge a bit of blame, etc., etc. is that how it ALWAYS is?…

    At about this time of year in 2015, my family and I traveled to Sheffield (to see a match, and meet a guy called Total…) and watched my football club bow out of this competition in pathetic fashion…except for the final half hour where the away fans sang, “We Love You Arsenal, We Do,” over and over and over… (Though I also remember some fans, when the singing stopped, having frothing tirades at Wenger, or stumbling up stairs at our B&B mumbling obscenities about the club/manager/players…)

    The questions Arsenal fans have to ask themselves, in my opinion, is what’s more important: the club…or me? Am I a fan or a supporter?… (Or maybe just a self-indulgent egoist writing about my travels and ideas about football…and life…)

    Nah, I think, instead, I’m gonna blame _____

    (The internet…and anybody on it with whom I disagree… 😀 😦 😉 …)

    (And, again, cheers for reading…And also, thanks–JW and ETK–for corrections and the thumbs up to my comment from a couple of days back… TA, weren’t you gonna respond more to my comment–though maybe this post is the response… More winkies…)

  • xhaka should hand back the captaincy and work his way back into the team based on merit as a player

  • I totally agree with Lacca, he should never play for the club again, never mind be captain!

    He is the worst, most pig headed arrogant captain we have ever had and probably the worst performing captain ever. What kind of captain, ducks a shot because he does not want to be hurt, which resulted in a goal (Man U). What kind of captain, walks off the pitch like he is time wasting when we are chasing a goal and then acts like a child when the crowd jeers him for these actions. People forget, the jeering started because he was taking so long walking off and then got worse to his childish reaction. What kind of captain never ever has taken responsibility for any of his mistakes and just instead says comments like ‘we all make mistakes’ That captain is Xhaka.

    Sorry anyone who thinks otherwise is what is wrong with our club at the moment, just full of excuses and excepting average is normal.

  • MakeLaca (Why cannot a would-be captains entire name be spelled out, I always wonder…) is EXACTLY what I’m talking about…

    If you don’t want to walk together, you will walk alone…(And, maybe, to a certain extent, this is exactly what Xhaka did on Sunday…fed up with the BS and being Emery’s not-so-fair-and-curly headed-boy…instead, a lightning rod to deflect criticisms from the coach, himself, in fact…) To my mind, what Know-Better-Than sorts ought to do, is just walk away (alone, or with your like-minded mates)… Unfortunately, (WalMart) Stan knows you won’t (smirking all the way to the bank)… And punditry is priceless, I guess… Arsenal are the only store, er, game, in town, so keep buying your (season) tickets, keep bringing the (self) hate, and keep doing YOUR part to tear down your club.

    It’s actually only stupid IF you think about it…

    (But it also–almost–makes me wish they’d given us housing on the other side of Finsbury Park back in ’06…)

    OK, one more cup of coffee for the road…as the song goes…

  • Per Arseblog today, from an interview with Emery–

    “Xhaka will not be part of the squad that plays at Anfield this evening and is expected to miss Saturday’s game against Wolves at the Emirates. While acknowledging that his captain was in the wrong, Emery spoke in-depth yesterday about trying to help the player recover from the rut he finds himself in.”


  • Jamie, thanks for commenting and keeping it decent.

    Xhaka was jeered straightaway when it became clear he was being substituted. A total and disgraceful lack of respect. The rest is a response by him that I would also have done. Why should an individual show respect when thousands of morons just jeered his substitution? If you have any self-pride you will say SOD YOU!

    I am happy to agree to disagree re Xhaka’s qualities. I always say you either see it or you don’t with Xhaka. Re the MU goal… the ball was slightly deflected and that is why it went over his head and it looked like he was lowering his head (a natural reaction by the way when something comes flying at you…. you never had this with birds for example?..

  • JW, that would be total mismanagement of the situation. Like after a car accident, you are encouraged to drive again as soon as possible. I also predict that we cannot afford to play without Xhaka v Wolves and Leicester and if we do we will drop between 4-6 points from those two games.

  • There’s enough blame to go around for everyone involved in the Sunday fiasco.
    So, what I’m about to state might seem obtuse with regard to the drama swirling about.
    What I do have a sense of? Is how the club is always keenly aware of the brand. The value of all things related to AFC. Presently, the brand is being dinged, devalued. Fairly resilient, but the Kroenke’s aren’t going to allow it to continue– for long.

    Additional takeaways I gleaned from the Arseblog piece this morning:

    Josh Kroenke was in attendance Sunday. Went straight to the changing room post-match. Whatever you might think of Josh– this was him getting his own read on the attitude of the team– the manager’s grip on the situation as it was happening– and making a first-hand assessment from his own perspective.

    …this direct quote by Emery:
    “Sunday for example, after the match, Josh Kroenke was also in the dressing room speaking with me. We were speaking for 10 minutes about the situation but all the time helping each other. He’s supporting me…”

    El jefe le da un beso de muerte. (The boss he gives the ‘kiss of death’)

    Josh Kroenke owes Unai Emery nothing– but money. When his employee’s inactions and inabilities begin costing value to the club’s brand? One thing leads to another; everything is connected.


  • TA,

    do you really think we will get anything from Wolves/Leicester games even with Xhaka in the team?

    Both teams have strong and implemented philosophy in their game. Unlike our tasteless, shapeless garbage of football, Wolves have Holy Spirit himself on the bench with strong Portuguese influence in every department of their club (I usually call them the best Portuguese club in Europe) while Leicester have Rodgers, a manager that – as I recall – you rate highly. I can see us losing both games (Wolves have beaten Man C at Etihad and we picked just a lucky point last season thanks to Mkhitaryan’s late fluke).

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Emery gets fired while leaving us with 4-4-4 and negative GD.

  • JW, didn’t know JK was there, and that makes total sense. They spend a lot of money and we are heading south, let there be no doubt about it (as per Admir’s comment).

  • Admir,

    Without Xhaka (and Ozil) it will be Guendo-Torreira-Ceballos… We WILL get hammered.

    If the grandmother with long teeth and ears would opt for Xhaka-Torr-Ozil, or even to be more solid, Xhaka-Tor-Willock/Guendo and Ozil with two of the PALs, then yes I would be confident to get four to six points from those games.

  • Arsenal team: Martinez, Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac, Torreira, Willock, Maitland-Niles, Ozil, Saka, Martinelli.

    Subs: Macey, Sokratis, Tierney, Guendouzi, Ceballos, Pepe, Lacazette.

  • It will be good to see Ozil back in action, but I think it’s insulting to treat him this way.
    If that team beats Liverpool – it will become known as the Miracle at Anfield.

  • GN5, expect him to be subbed for the curly dribbler at half time or after 60 minutes..

    That is a good line-up, though. That midfield should give the Pool one a game and Ozil, Saka and Martinelli have a lot of movement in them. Good to see Bellerin starting a game again..

  • I agree about the disgraceful behaviour of the Emirates crowd on Sunday, those booing are fans and not supporters. A supporter supports his club through thick and thin – especially the thin whereas a fan supports the club because they win and win in style.

    That said, Xhaka was in the wrong. As Captain of a historic and world renowned club he has responsibilities, which are to act with decorum and respect for the shirt, in this he failed spectacularly.

    I agree the booing started prior to Xhaka trudging off the pitch and it is Johnson-esque to blur the lines by saying it was because he took his time. The man’s name was booed before the game even started!

    Why is Ozil starting? Because Josh Kroenke wants him to – I very much doubt this is Emery’s decision. Money talks


  • Cheers Erik.

    Really good first half to watch. The boys are doing us proud and Ozil and Torreira are leading this team to victory. But the biggest cheer goes to Martinelli who is just sooo good and soooo keen.

  • Never liked penalties but what a game that was.

    What is worrying is that our defence was very strong with AMN and Torreira as defensive shield yet we conceded 5 goals. Simply not good enough

  • Glass half-full: we scored five at Anfield and played some decent football for a change. Mrsut did well, Martinelli is a new Ronaldo.

    Glass half-empty: we can’t defend even when we play against the Liverpool kids. We make stupid mistakes and overall team intelligence is record low.

    Now, let’s see if Mendes’ team will find a job for Mendes’ client on Saturday.

  • Although we lost against the Liv second stringers i think we did well enough and will be winning sooner or later. Gutted about the penalty loss but i felt that Ozil and the youngsters did really well.

    Now lets focus on getting behind the team and the positivity will be felt by the team too.

  • This blog had been kind of moody in the past weeks. We need more positive comments or posts to lift the dark clouds hanging over Islington and also the world of Gooners.

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