38 thoughts on “Why we Should All Support Granit

  • Hi Total, I’d read that article previously and it really made me sad to think that a player who gives his all for Arsenal should feel as though he was hated. The “fans” who are responsible for making him feel this way should be ashamed of themselves. He has pointed out who they are – fancy having to leave the pitch after a game with your head bowed to avoid looking into the faces of the perpetrators.
    It’s amazing that he has been able to play at all with those awful thoughts running through your head?

  • Thanks GN5, you are so right, it’s sad. Really put me off fellow Gooners the way Xhaka was treated. And look at those stats: that is a top four performance between them.

  • The worrying thing is if we continue to only win 43% without partey and xhaka together.

  • They had formed a really good partnership. Partey sitting and xhaka further from goal was working but now we don’t have this. For the rest of the season we need to find a way to win games without that solid middle.

    Xhaka needs to have elneny or lokanga next to him. Whoever arteta picks must be given more than 1 game. They need to form a new partnership and that takes time. Unfortunately with 3 games in a week we are going to suffer as time is not on our side.

    I would like to see us try this as we have looked poor at the back and up top recently. A formation change could help with goals and holding will help shore up the back.

    Ramsdale GK
    Gabriel, holding, white – CB
    Saka -LWB
    Cedric – RWB
    Xhaka, Lokanga -CM
    Odegaard- AM
    Martinelli, Laca – CF

  • Agreed that Xhaka needs our support. I also agree with Wedge (and others) that he should be playing in midfield alongside Lokanga or Elneny rather than in defence. I feel that we need to try someone different at CF to start the next match. Other teams have started targeting Laca to cut out our threat going forward. It would mean a change to our system but Martinelli, Eddie and Pepe are less predictable and therefore give the opposition something different to worry about when I’m sure that they will be expecting Laca to play.

  • Manchester City v Liverpool – FA Cup Semi * 1-2
    Tottenham v Brighton H
    Southampton v Arsenal A
    Chelsea v Crystal Palace – FA Cup Semi * 2-1
    Arsenal Ladies v Chelsea Ladies FA Cup Semi H
    Celtic v Rangers Scottish Cup Semi Final * 2-0

  • Greetings, TA. I saw that video Granit did earlier and felt jolted by the sheer emotion of it all; the fans don’t care but these players are also human with the same challenge faced by us all (and some).

    I am happy he did the interview and even more impressed the club has gone ahead to permit him to (at least, I believe they must have given their nod). It is amazing that a player takes all these insults online and still wears the shirt the next game, giving his all for the cause. Fans need to show a bit more respect or find other decorous ways to express displeasure.

  • GN5, you could be right on the merit of “let’s be nice”. Fans shouldn’t be so cruel to a devoted, long-term player anyway.
    But the situation is even worse. The(se) fans are not simply mean, they are wrong too. The attitude of all recent club coaches (Wenger, Emery, Arteta) and Switzerland managers (Hitzfeld, Petkovic) – as well as the statistics provided – clearly show that Xhaka is indeed a fine player.

  • We are in complete agreement PB – like lot’s of things in life – you don’t know how fortunate you were until you’ve lost it.

  • Manchester City v Liverpool – FA Cup Semi * A (0-2)
    Tottenham v Brighton H
    Southampton v Arsenal A
    Chelsea v Crystal Palace – FA Cup Semi * A (0-1)
    Arsenal Ladies v Chelsea Ladies FA Cup Semi H
    Celtic v Rangers Scottish Cup Semi Final * A (2-3)

  • The only part I didn’t like about the interview was Xhaka saying he doesn’t intend to change the way he plays (regarding his disciplinary issues). It’s something that has cost us. As a leader and experienced player he should always be looking to improve. He does get a raw deal from refs but he does flirt with danger at times too.

    No player should deal with personal attacks. Discussing a players family is beyond terrible and those that do it should be banned from the stadium. I wish this interview was done last year to bring awareness to it. What xhaka had to deal with was way over the top. Sadly i don’t think it’ll make those types change the way they treat athletes. Common decency is in short supply on the internet. It’s even worse for soccer given supporters come from all over the globe. That brings different levels of awareness and understanding for what is right or wrong. Also different levels of policing. You make racist comments online in oz, uk, usa, etc. and you can expect to get a please explain from people/authorities. In other countries they don’t have the same funding or resources to do the same.

    We also have to be mindful that no player is above criticism regarding their performances. I hope we don’t see a situation where no one can critique xhaka’s performances without supporters jumping and suggesting it’s a personal attack.

    Not sure i agree with arteta’s comments today about playing xhaka at LB. Arteta said Arsenal’s stats on the occasions it has happened “don’t get much better than that.” last season it happened 7 times (4W,1D,2L). This season 2x 45mins (2L). Okay at best. It’s failed the eye test too. He needs to be in midfield where he’s best.

    Arteta also didn’t fill me with much confidence regarding partey and tomi. Seems more likely partey is out for the year and tomi is still a ways off. We can’t catch a break.

  • I like the way you have put it, Oz, that common decency is in short supply on the internet and that is the thing that seems to rankle with Xhaka, apart from the fans in the stands who heckle him and rain abuse on him on a regular basis.

    Granit Xhaka was always going to be a divisive figure among Arsenal fans after his first few games (and those red cards in quick succession, from same ref), for reasons as banal as his lack of visible athleticism/pace and tendency for the clumsy tackle leading to fouls and cards. God knows he has frustrated me many times during his time here, but when I review the games in my head, I end up seeing his best attributes and what he brings to the team: the balance, how he cares, shows passion, never hiding and always there to support others. He is a leader in that team and it is no coincidence that he has been preferred by every manager he’s played under. That is not to say I won’t be happy if we get a big upgrade but he is here and deserves the support. I love the sincerity the way he talks and I am not surprised he is loved by teammates and coaching staff.
    As to your disapproval of his comment suggesting he won’t change, it may be in a manner of speaking; he has changed and improved from what he showed in his first season under Wenger, where even the manager had to make the excuse for him that he does have to adjust his approach in the tackle and stay more on his feet. When Arteta pushed him upfield in the last 7 games, or so, he’s hardly shown that level of “indiscipline”, meaning his role in the team may be a factor as to how he reacts to danger or being dispossessed. His words: “Listen, the cards have always been part of my game. They were in Germany, too. Remember the 50-50? I’m all in, and it’s the same in training. If I elbow a player, I’ll be the first one to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ “But a tackle? Come on, guys. This is not ballet”. Sheer passion, in my view. He doesn’t always get it right, but I don’t think he gets it wrong quite as often as it is suggested.

    On your point about being mindful that no player should be above criticism on their performance, you are absolutely correct. Oh, I tear my hair (I don’t have much left, by the way) over Granit’s decisions at times and will criticize aspects of his (and other players’) game most times. The problem is with the vitriol, the hate the vile abuse and the threats to the family. That’s not criticism but sheer hate that is unacceptable from fans of any club! Hear him: “Yes, for 90 minutes I am Granit Xhaka, Arsenal midfielder. But the rest of the week I’m just a Swiss guy living in London with his wife and two kids.”

    We must know these guys are human. It is true that social media interactions are very different from real life ones, as it is easier to call someone names from the anonymity of a keyboard, as against directly to their face. From what Granit stated, he gets it both ways; social media and to his face as he walks into the dressing room….from his own “fans”. Terrible!! No. Footballers should not be exempt from criticism because that is part and parcel of the job, but I feel there needs to be a line.

  • What Granit is highlighting is the real world and not just internet. Internet of course provide you the anonymity and people assume that they are safe to what they like. it just shows their class. The tribalism in the world and the complete intolerance in section of society for anyone who doesn’t fit into your norms is responsible for such abuse. Granit is a footballer and has the platform to give such an interview. Imagine the plight of common people who don’t have platform to voice their concern and who are abused day in and day out. This is the world we live in.

  • This is the line up I think we all wanted
    Tavares at LB
    Xhaka back in cm
    Nketia given a chance due to laca not being fit.

  • Also Brighton just beat spurs in the last minute.

    That must serve as motivation for the chaps.

  • 32
    Odegaard (c)
    E. Smith Rowe

  • Brighton win in North London may have only served as indication as to the quality of the Brighton side that beat Arsenal; but, no excuses, we should be beating them. The win against us has spurred them on, apparently. Maybe, that’s what Arteta meant when he said “the result had nothing to do with Xhaka playing at left back”, (I am paraphrasing him there).

    Well, it is back in our hands to correct today so, let’s hope the boys deliver.

    Without Laca, it is back to a full on 4-3-3,as Nketiah won’t be coming to midfield to hold up play as Laca would and will interchange with Martinelli, at some points. It is amazing that Pepe doesn’t even get to start with Laca out of it.

  • Wow punished again but we fell asleep on that second ball. Forget Spurs losing we will it will take a huge effort for us to win this game now its a shame Saka was not able to take advantage of that big opportunity. For me Cedric has been awful with his passes and set pieces.

  • Before their goal, the game had DRAW written all over it for me; the usual reaction/result you get from two teams trying to stem a trend. But now, while it may still end up a draw, it will be a more open game and one we would need to keep our heads and focus to get a win from.

    Cedric must have been showing ability on set pieces for him to be given chance after chance at them. I only hope it isn’t to give him a chance to shine at his old stomping ground.

    We’ve done well protecting Tavares here, with Gabriel, Xhaka and Saka helping with tripling down on attacks from that flank. Trouble is we would have to change something that may open us up a bit and if we don’t get the goals we seek quickly in the second half, it gives the hosts a chance to probe for more goals.

  • Ben White needed to be smarter there, coming back onto the field after getting off injured, to keep opposition players onside. Serious lack of cohesion by the defenders.

  • I like the idea of Saka back on the right wing maybe he can bring Ode back into this game more. Gabi already does a good job defensively on the left so not sure that moving Saka there was making much of a difference with the support Granit was already giving Tavares.

  • I would have thought we could get one goal at least but we cannot seem to buy one at the moment.

  • Maybe we should stop blaming the players and the manager and just accept that we are a pretty average team.

    I fail to see how we can lose 1 left back and a midfielder and then be so bad. I don’t want to hear that we dominated possession or that forster was great. That just means we were not good enough with the ball or clinical enough up top

    Looks like utd will be top 4 at thos rate after all the spurs and arsenal talk. Hahahaha

  • I don’t intend to blame the defeat on Saka, but he indeed missed an absolute sitter, and managed to botch our second best chance of the day by shooting (directly into Foster) when Nketiah was waiting for a tap-in. Bukayo is in a really poor form these weeks, even though he doesn’t seem to be playing any worse than his teammates. But compared to the bar he set this is very disappointing.

  • Strange sort of game. A very bad result in the scheme of things, after Spurs gave us a way in and with United winning. We just can’t buy a goal these days.

    Southampton defended very well and their keeper had a good game too. Still, we should be tearing such teams to shreds. We also need to improve on our reactions when we go down in games. Hard to come back now with 3 defeats in a row.

  • Once I saw they had scored I knew we would lose.

    This team seems to lack character and self belief. Not a single player I look at right now and think if something comes his way he will bury it. I am sure our opposition think the same, if you dont fear your opponent then the game becomes alot easier.

    With Chelsea, Utd and Westham next it could be 6 games without a point.

  • Very dissapointing result, though nothing much was expected from this game but to stem the rot. Guess the rot goes deeper. Not sure where we go from here. Inability to get the best if the team is hurting. Enough said.

  • Wedge, I would have a few questions before accepting that we are a pretty average team.

    1. A few years back we won the FA Cup, played a final and a semi-final in the Europa League. Were those coincidences? Or back then were we more than a pretty average team?
    2. Well, since those years the team has changed. We no longer have Sokratis, Mustafi, Walcott, but we have Odegaard, Gabriel, White, Partey, Tomiyasu and Ramsdale. Is the team deteriorating? Are we worse then we were a few years ago?
    3. Is it possible that we were quite good a few year back and we managed to improve the squad, but we did it slower than our competitors? Did they make more and/or faster progress and therefore are better than current Arsenal?
    4. Five from the 6 players Arteta signed this summer started this game – and if Tomi was fit he would have too – 4 played 95 minutes and Tavares 70. Were they bad players to purchase? Or something limits them from reaching their maximum potential, performance and development?

    If you don’t want to blame the players or the manager, Wedge, you need to answer at least 2 of these question with ‘YES’. Which explanation(s) would you prefer that would justify that our squad made 0 points and -5 goal difference from 3 games against teams belong to the bottom half of the table?

  • I don’t think that we are worse off but I do think that the teams around has have improved.

    I am just looking for answers as to why we can be so poor on multiple occasions. It is possible to blame the manager and the players but maybe our expectations are also to blame. We are looking at past glory as a reason for future success.

    I do however think that arteta is very young and inexperienced (as are a lot of the squad). He is tactically naive and at times just looks lost sitting o the touchline.

    With every poor result it is harder to find reasons to stay positive and rally behind the team. Sadly if we lose the next (as I think we will) then I really don’t think arteta will have a job next year.

  • It also depends on the definition of average. We could be looking at a 3rd 8th place finish at this rate. I would consider 8th at the top end of average.
    1-3 very good
    4-7 good
    8-12 average
    13-16 poor
    17-20 very poor

  • Will watch later, but will be frustrating… especially since that’s the lineup I wanted to see… pretty much.

    I guess we will have to accept that we are a 2023 team. This collapse will make it a bit harder to sign better level players we need, but I think we’ll still get good ones, and Arteta will make them better.

    I still believe we’ve been quite unlucky, and Spurs have been extremely fortunate… like 3 games against 10 men – in a row. Also double digit beneficiaries of own goals. Incredible.

  • @ wedge

    You’re right about lacking character. Arsenal have only won 4 points this season when they’ve been behind in games. That is very poor.

    The tactics are still questionable to me. Under emery we question why we always attacked down the left and send in cross after cross to no one in the box. Last season we did the same with tierney. Now we are doing it with cedric. Nketiah and laca have zero aerial presence. It’s wasted. Try something different…try and feed through balls down the middle…try and get nketiah running in behind defenders. It’s madness doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same outcome.

    I’m not sure what cedric is showing in training but can we please stop him from taking set pieces. Odegaard is the better option.

    Amazing that we could see ourselves staring at 5 losses on the trot now. When we needed to step up we folded like a cheap suit. It’s the hope that kills you…

  • Wedge, I think we all like Arteta here. Nobody wants to send him in prison.
    It was likely from the beginning, that Mikel is young and inexperienced, but due to his Arsenal history (DNA), leadership abilities as a former gunner captain and his first hand experience from one of the best coaches on the planet the board took a gamble. And it seemed it was working out well beyond expectation. There were some concerning sings too (home defeat against Olympiakos), but those happen everywhere. And we not just simply won the FA Cup, but did it in a really convincing manner not merely defeating all opponents, but were clearly better then them.

    However that raised the bar for Arteta big time. He was promoted from head coach to manager, he was given an unprecedented amount to splash on reinforcements, and he was allowed to spend further tens of millions to terminate running contracts of players he couldn’t seem to cooperate with – being overpaid/old guys like Sokratis, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Willian or club legends like Ozil and Auba.
    That is a great responsibility, and unfortunately he cannot play the ‘young and inexperienced’ card any more. If he will be without job next season (which in my opinion would be the best thing imaginable for Arsenal, but that’s my subjective and personal opinion) it wouldn’t happen because he is young and inexperienced. It would happen, because he is a poor manager. Or maybe just below average, but if that doesn’t suit Arsenal for players (Torreira, Willock, Pepe), then it definitely shouldn’t suit Arsenal in case of a manager. Yes, there might be a correlation between Arteta’s insufficient coaching skills and his age/experience, but he was hired to do a job, in which he failed (or will most likely fail in the next month and a half). If other clubs would see his performance “not too bad for his age and experience” then he would get further assignments and the opportunity to improve, but Arsenal needed more than someone doing not too bad for his age and experience, and apparently didn’t get it.

  • Well, that third defeat on the trot kiboshed my Easter celebration somewhat, but I do appreciate Jnyc’s perspective that this Arsenal is a team for 2023. (With some wise additions this summer). Successful players who transition quickly into management can find it tough. They have not had the years of experience in which to have developed resilience, they are invariably still raising young or teenaged children in their home, they face intensely stressful encounters and expectations every week in front of an audience of millions. You have to be a pretty special person to thrive in that environment. And you need a great support structure, a club with values and a patient fan base.
    Mikel isn’t yet a Pep or a Jurgen, but he could become one. If, after five years the project is not bearing fruit, then is the time to replace him.
    P.B., I don’t consider Auba and Ozil “club legends”. Both gave us wonderful moments but I can’t see a time when their image adorns the stadium exterior walls. I guess the last player we have had who deserves that accolade might be Cesc?
    Total, hope you had some great family time in Holland. We have enjoyed a clan gathering for Easter. Roast lamb this evening. Hopefully help me put aside the bitter herbs ingested early this morning (Kick off NZ time: 3 am).

  • Pb, Stuart, Jync etal the question utmost in my mind is that we may well be a 2023 team, there are no guarantees in life and nothing at all in sports. So the prudent way is to plan adequately abd prepare for contingencies. I said it during summer and again during winter window taht we have left out midfield short and with our dealings in Jan we left out striker position also week. That’s water under the bridge but irrespective of Artetas inexp he has played in Pl and knows very well it’s a squad league over a period of 38 games. Coupled with that not using the already think squad to keep everyone interested by giving everyone adequate playing time actually dilutes the culture part which was held as reasons to let assets if the club to devalue.
    Having said this if we are to really maximise our potential for 2023 i beleive that we seriously need to look at Artetas weak points and strengthen the same. Let’s look at his short career in coaching/mgmt. His best years were at City when we had Pep as the manager and he was given specific tasks. He excelled in taht by all accounts which paved the way for a club like Arsenal to approach him for higher job. Now having seen his style of mgmt over the last 2 yrs we have to seriusly consider his short comings and be prepared for the same. We said that for a very exp manager like Wenger taht his assistants like Pat rice and Steve Bould are not strong enough to challenge him. What do we say of Artetas now? Should we not look to strengthen him my bringing an exp hand in assisting him, someone who is known to challenge the authority and who can also add his tactical nous. Seeing the way team is performing in the final third makes me nervous. The downward spiral taht we are in makes it that much harder for Arsenal to get the striker taht we want. It becomes harder for us to attract talent in a world cup year. So it a serious question that we must answer. When we look at squad building in this transfer window , should we also look at the management team and coaching staff make changes to cover for the deficiencies there? No iam not suggesting Wenger infact i dont wbat him anywhere near this club as it’s an easy and lazy choice. I want someone who can guide Arteta and make him think about aspects that he is evidently not thinking. If we are honestly looking to improve the club fortunes on the field apart from player acquisition we have to look at strengthening Artetas mgmt team. That will put us in a better position to realise our objective.

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