Granit Xhaka (34)


Zero awareness as usual. When we had Fabregas in midfield his neck was rotating every 3 seconds. Similar with Cazorla. This guy doesn’t seem to bother.

He’s perfectly fine at making passes when facing goal and not under pressure but that’s such a pointless skill to have as you’re probably already doing well in that situation anyway.

He had a spell where he didn’t look bad after the formation change but I really can’t remember many games where he was good. At least Coquelin and Ramsey have some of those.

So far he’s been a terrible buy. It’s clear Wenger wants one midfielder a bit more defensive and for some reason Xhaka is now it but he appears to have very little defensive sense.


Seriously… Cesc is really a great contrast… the guy had active eyes darting all over constantly… amazing awareness and vision… Xhaka’s touch, vision, and overall awareness are in a completely different league to Cesc, or Santi for that matter.


Eh, plenty of counter-examples to that. Starting with Fábregas.

:flushed: :arteta: :coq: :cristo: :per: :ozil: :henry2: :santi2: :iwobi: :arteta:




His brain is full of rotten swiss chocolate.


Ahhh Swiss chocolate isn’t rotten.

These are sex in a box!



Hmm, paying no mind to ‘that’ touch, I feel this was one of his better games this season. His lackadaisical approach in such a vital position is a worry, however I really wonder if he has room to develop, whether under Wenger (unlikely) or under another manager (possibly in the future?). The comparison with Cesc is a nice one, he’s adaptable in various set ups (teams) and manages to to play to a reasonable level at least. When Granit is bad, he’s godawful and it somehow, nearly always deals a fatal blow as a result of that.

He’s 25. Guys like Cesc or Cazorla which are capable of playing a deeper position like Xhaka, possessed ‘a-head-on-a-swivel’, constantly moving and checking their environment from a young age. Maybe it can be taught but I really wonder how someone of much praise before he came here, doesn’t have any spatial awareness?! I’m not sure how BM set-up in their season before Granit moved to us but I assume they had some ballers (Dahoud) and players that had a worthy amount of technical retention.

I really think there was some crossing of wires regarding his transfer. Wenger thought he was getting a young Alonso/Arteta I presume and has had a lot of trouble working Xhaka into a suitable system. I feel like most of Wenger’s midfield acquisitions over time have taken like a duck to water, Xhaka however, is like the Titanic; has all the bells and whistles that make him a potential midfield maestro, but gets iceberged to fuck because his motor skills suck. I think that’s a fitting statement?



Which is even more confusing and why that little project ended halfway through the season thankfully.


I agree, actually, that he was pretty decent today.** Had some nice, clean, Arteta-like wins of possession, and a couple bits of decent composure I recall in short spaces: two things I’m not used to seeing from him. He over-hit a really straightforward through ball to Alexis which was frustrating, but then played a beautiful ball (with a much higher level of difficulty) to Ramsey I think that was just barely cut out.

I think I remember @Powderfinger making a post during the summer of '16 during the pre-season or early season which was really the first time I got excited about him, about the idea he would be a great finder of Özil between midfield lines, with vertical, interior passes. I’m really disappointed we haven’t seen much of that from him; too often it’s lifted balls out wide, or annoying long through balls, or even sometimes over-ambitious switches of play with no hope of bringing anything interesting in the case of a completed pass. This might (read: likely does) have something to do with Wenger’s coaching (read: lack of proper coaching of midfield/build-up play) as Arteta’s passing was very much like this as a 6, just better and more accurate, as he was a more intelligent player–but still, less inter-linking with the 8 (or the other 6 as Ramsey played at times), lots of safe balls out to wing backs or switches to wingers, and when there was/is time on the ball, usually over-ambitious/overly-direct through balls to the GK or the endline instead of finding the #10 or the #8 through the lines.

As it is, I would certainly play Maitland-Niles over him. He’s not orchestrating anything particularly interesting from the 6, so I would rather someone athletic who offers himself consistently, has a consistent first touch (and can recover from it with athleticism when not), and plays it simple. But I do still wonder if there’s a serviceable player there under a different manager.

**Important caveat: we played Everton, who was shocking. Haven’t watched most of our games this season, but that’s easily the worst team I’ve seen play against us/or in any game I’ve watched this season. Which is saying something as we played Hughes’ Stoke and I watched that one too.


I see a lot of blame aimed towards Xhaka for lack of awareness but please tell me what the fuck was Per doing passing him the ball with four Everton players around him and close to no time to react?

If he’d have cleared his lines the first goal would never have happened.


Not having that.

That’s actually a very nice pass by Per. Xhaka has various options; flick it through to Özil; have a decent first touch and spread the play to the right to either Koscielny or Bellerín; or even if he’s particularly nervous he can come to meet the ball and pass it back to Cech.

Start instructing Per to clear his lines because Xhaka might have a horrendous first touch and a goal might result from it instead of making that pass and you might as well give up playing out of the back or being a big club with a possession approach.


I don’t agree, when the pass is made Gueye was already running through the back of him in a flash.

It wasn’t a good pass at all and invited pressure but hey it’s in vogue to dump all over Xhaka so have at it.


Thing is though, it’s not like Xhaka hasn’t got a clear track record of being suspect in the defensive third and midfield.

Not sure why he doesn’t adjust his what he does when he receives the ball in potentially dangerous areas. Seems unable to a learn and improve which is why people are questioning his overall intelligence.

Never mind all the other issues with his game


A lot of the criticism he has received is fair but in this case I don’t see why he’s the only one culpable when he’s passed to so close to goal, facing goal with so many Everton players around him, even without the poor first touch Gueye is all over him for a tackle. That pic above shows the pass in its beginning phase but by the time its reached Xhaka they are around him.

And to ask him to be attempt a flick on so close to goal with so many opposition players about which again is a risky play is just reaching IMO.


Per is at fault a bit because he’s used to playing with Santi who has the ability to weasel his way out of a tight spot like that with his technical ability and awareness. Xhaka is more like a young Flamini (mimus the defensive ability) who hardly has any talent unless you just give him tons of space and let him pick a pass. I’m sure Per won’t make the mistake of passing to one of our midfielders again with the expectation of them actually not being disposessed or being able to make a pass under pressure.


Flick is just a manner of speaking. There’s many ways to make that simple pass to Özil, you can flick it a bit with the outside of the left you can open your body and pass it first time on the floor, you take a first touch and pass it with your right. If you watch highlight and watch Özil’s body language he is preparing himself to receive a pass.

Either way, like I said, there a number of options. Here’s the reverse view:

With any kind of a decent first touch you can play it to Koscielny simply there. It’s fine to pass out of defence simply this way too, with a nice pass like Mertesacker’s to get out of a pressured zone, then what would be a comparably simpler pass from a player it should be cake as a midfielder to make such a pass, to Koscielny, and so it goes…

Putting any blame on Mertesacker whatsoever is nonsense. The touch is shocking. There is not major pressure on him whatsoever, as you make out:

Arsenal fans have really forgotten what a good midfielder/good midfield play looks like if they think it is somehow unreasonable to expect anything less than a clean reception and a completed pass from the midfielder there. Santi probably would’ve turned that into a forward pass to Ramsey or Özil an a transition from it.


Not major pressure at all and yet poor first touch or not by the time the ball reaches his feet Gueye is literally on him.

That last picture depicts it well, the players have already reacted and are proceed to swarm on him en masse and there isn’t nowhere near as many outlets as you’re making out.


I think fundamentally though, Xhaka is again not aware of his surroundings and that again coupled with his lack of athleticism is why he keeps making these same kinds of mistakes.


Nailed it, his only real option was to play it round the corner first time to Özil other than that there was not alot he could really do thanks to Mertesacker’s touch triggering Everton’s press.

If the BFG played it first time Xhaka could of slid a nice easy ball between Vlasik and Gueye to Ramsey and we would of been good to go with a 3 vs 2 down the left hand side but that didn’t happen and like I said a while ago